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10. THE PSALMS CHRONOLOGICALLY ARRANGED: NEW VERSION, Spectator,
11. THE STARRING SYSTEM IN LITERATURE,
12. MR. DICKENS'S RETUrn,
13. POETESSES-ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING - CHRISTINA
770 HOME, SWEET HOME! (The Medium),
790 THE CITY PIGEONS,
793 GREATNESS TESTED BY LITTLE THINGS,
775 ACTION OF PUTRID MATERIAL,
774 ANECDOTE OF DR. HAWKS,
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THE CHILD'S CONFESSION. THERE went a little scholar
With slow and lagging feet
The curtain fell behind him,
Of the satchel in his hand.
His blue eyes brimming o'er; Like April rains, his tears
Fell spangling on the floor. An aged priest was passing;
He noticed him, and said, "Why, little one, this weeping, This heavy hanging head?" "My father, O my father!
I've sinned," said the child,
Then list to my confession".
And sobs his utterance broke,
With hands upon it pressed.
You are powerless to relate."
And strove his sins to note,
Now when the tale was finished,
A DOUBTER'S HYMN.
Each faithless guide, and learn that he
The knowledge of the truth of things,
From the Spectator, 16 May. LORD BROUGHAM. PROBABLY the hugest human phenomenon of our century has passed away in the death of Lord Brougham. He was the Demiurgus of Liberalism during the early part of the century, and brooded over the various germs of intellectual, moral, and political innovation, widely scattered and much needed in that day, with a rich fecundity of result the benefits of which the present generation are by no means likely ever adequately to appreciate. He was in restless energy rather a hundred men than one, and, moreover, for all the unity of design, the intellectual unity, that he gave to the various branches of his political activity, he might really have been a hundred men not even bound up in one. By this, we mean that his energy in one department did not so interpenetrate and flavour his energy in others as to make one feel its individual origin and singleness of conception. There was rough force, extraordinary vitality, immense vigour of handling in all he did; but the scientific mind never betrayed itself in the statesman; the judicial mind scarcely gleamed out in the biographer or historian; the metaphysician was hardly seen in the lawyer; nor even the popular leader in the constitutional theorist. Brougham was a big miscellany of useful forces, in which the modern doctrines of correlation, the doctrine that any one form of force is absolutely interchangeable with every other, could by no means be detected. True, the measure of his restless strength was nearly the same in every direction, but there was little trace of co-ordination and reciprocal influence among the various departments of his wonderfully miscellaneous energy. Like a besom, his multitudinous intelligence was composed of an immense number of almost equally strong fibres, with which it was possible to sweep a great surface of ground greatly in need of such sweeping; but the bond between these fibres seemed to be rather the comparatively mechanical one of a common sheath or socket in the same energetic character, than that perfect permeation of one faculty or acquirement by all the others which goes to make up what is called the highest culture of accomplished men. He wrote freely and at large on education, history, biography, law, science, natural theology, every branch of politics; he wrote on one branch of classical study, the oratory of Greece and Rome, with as much shrewdness and minuteness of treatment as he ever devoted to any subject of study; he published at least one anonymous
romance; and he spoke probably much more even than he wrote; but while he never touched a subject in his earlier days without leaving the impression of force behind him, there is scarcely a single speech or writing of Lord Brougham's except, perhaps, speeches of a purely professional character, like that on Queen Caroline, which would carry with it the sense of completeness, exhaustiveness, perfection. Indeed, he might have sanely said of himself what the man in the Gospels said insanely,
that his name was Legion. Legion as a reformer in an age when almost everything is wrong, may be all the more useful for his multiplicity of inchoate energies; and no group of men, even though combining Brougham's various powers, could have done so much to bring home to the public the manifoldness of the mischiefs under which England groaned, and of the remedies for which it craved, as the single reformer Brougham; for his name was a thread which united in the popular imagination the various topics of which he treated. But such a one, though the best of all reformers to stir public indignation at the rank crop of evils, is not the one best fitted to perfect the cure even of any; and the movements which Brougham's hundredhanded genius started, it needed minds of a more limited but also more finely chiselled type to mature. Nothing impresses one more in the career of this wonderful man than that he never gained by age a single compensation for the loss of the force of youth. He lost in impetus without gaining in judgment. He lost in versatility without gaining in accuracy. He lost in fire without gaining in serenity. He lost in intensity without gaining in comprehensiveness. He lost in bitterness without gaining in suavity. Finally, he lost in terror without gaining in command. The great advantage of age over youth is in the power it acquires of co-ordinating all its acquisitions, and turning variety of experience into moral wisdom. But Lord Brougham's huge and multitudinous energies seem to have been too hasty ever to have furnished his inner spirit with the materials for this large moral assimilation. As his moral nature never gained that mild and venerable benignity which is so great a charm of old age, so his intellectual nature never gained the lucid and temperate power of impressive survey, which is its greatest privilege. The one often exists without the other, as, for example, in Brougham's great contemporary, Lord Lyndhurst, who had the last in all its splendour; but Brougham displayed neither. His latest efforts in the annual addresses to
the Social Science Association showed the triumph, -going back to the first moment mere flickering flame of former vigour, in which a new chemical truth had flashed without a glimpse of any milder and larger itself upon his mind. Lord Brougham says, wisdom. Here and there the old sarcasm and we imagine truly, that there was no flashed out. Here and there the old power recollection of his life towards which he of physically crushing, as with an almost yearned more often and more ardently than muscular compression of the will, would to that first love of science which was most excite admiration for the old man's linger- closely associated with Black's lecture-room. ing might. But for the most part the vital And though he had not himself either the energy had disappeared from the sentences, patience or the peace of the scientific mind, which trailed a slow length of words along, though he was formed for the heat of battle, without any vestige of that great constrict- it is quite certain that he loved all knowling force which once made up for their in-edge and science, and that he believed to ordinate volume. While Brougham was the bottom of his soul in the duty of dif engaged in the uphill struggle against blind fusing it through the whole people. So far and obdurate authority he was great, he at least he was a lover of light and a true was Titanic. When he had won his battle Liberal. Whether we can honestly say and presided over the execution of the that he was in the same profound sense a policy for which he had fought, he was less lover of liberty, we feel the gravest doubt. than many an ordinary mortal. In denounc- He fought early, and passionately, of course, ing and exposing the disorder he was almost against exclusion of all kinds. He desuperhuman. In restoring and expound-nounced slavery with all his force. He ing order he was not even distinguished. assailed religious bigotry with immense He had not the tranquillity of nature requi- power. But it is one thing for a young site to organize and create. His mind man to become the spokesman of the rising reeked with the smoke and passion of bat- popular feeling, and to fling himself with tle. eagerness and delight into the thick of a battle which he feels in every nerve must be, before long, the winning side, and another to entertain that deep love for the principles involved which will keep him true to them through ill report as well as good, when his old friends are deserting him. We do not believe that Lord Brougham had this sort of love of liberty, nor even that he understood how essential a condition of greatness of character moral liberty,
How deep did the true Liberal spirit really reach in Lord Brougham's nature? That he believed with all his mind, and soul, and strength, in the value of popular education, in the blessing of " diffusing useful knowledge; " that he wished to make it really universal; that he carried away from the Scotch University, in which his first intellectual impulses were moulded, something like a pure enthusiasm for the new sciences which were just then taking shape of which political liberty is the natural and opening a wide vista of discovery to the condition, -is. He certainly joined the great mathematicians, chemists, and electri- hue and cry in favour of the Southern cians of the age, no one who knows Lord Slave States in his old age; and denounced Brougham's "Lives of the Literary Men the conduct of the greatest struggle of our of George III.'s Time" can doubt for an in- days by the greatest man of our days, with stant. There is, to our minds, nothing in a flash of his old arrogance and malevoall Lord Brougham's voluminous and fati- lence. And in his bitter and sincere oppoguing compositions half so noble and touch-sition to religious intolerance he seems to ing as the passage in which he recalls, with have been animated less by a deep reverence a sort of passion of tenderness, his old for religion, than by the lawyer's and man boyish delight in Dr. Black's lectures on of the world's indifference to it. Intellectchemistry, especially the lecture in which ually, Lord Brougham was a true Liberal. the venerable professor used to rehearse Morally and politically he was no more the great discovery of his youth as to "fixed than a true hater of restrictions of which he air," the combinations, namely, into did not see the use. which air could enter with solid substances. Lord Brougham's great political weapon, Lord Brougham's style, usually so wanting the spear which was like a weaver's beam" in grace, and delicacy, and serenity, and with which he terrified the armies he op transparency, attracts to itself almost all posed and overcame, was his wonderful those qualities as he delineates the rekin- power of hatred, and his subtlety of exdled enthusiasm of the lonely, gentle, old pression whenever he could allow hatred man, with his neat-handed experiments and its full swing. He had a new power of lanhis scientific relics, the carefully pre- guage whenever this impulse came into served instruments of his great scientific action. To take a very small instance, he
calls some one, in his anonymous novel hero. Lord Brougham's immense power of Albert Lunel-in which almost all the char- attack may have been at times fed by his acters are French disguises of his own vanity. It was certainly, at times, greatly English contemporaries,-"a compound, weakened, - rendered artificial and theatrior rather a compost, of affectations, selfish- cal by the intensity of desire to kindle new ness, and false sentiment." What can be admiration for his own power, as, for inmore effective than the substitution there stance, when he knelt theatrically to the of the word "compost" for "compound," House of Lords to pass the Reform Bill. -just conveying the impression of thick and sticky pomade? But to get a measure of the full power of Brougham's language take any of his diatribes against George IV.,-this, for instance, in that sketch of him which he inserted among his "Statesmen of the Reign of George III." He had been describing George's treatment of his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, during the first year of their marriage. At the end of it
"the first gentleman of his age' was pleased under his own hand to intimate that it suited his disposition no longer to maintain even the thin covering of decency which he had hitherto suffered to veil the terms of their union; he announced that they should now live apart; and added, with a refinement of delicacy suited to the finished accomplishment of his pre-eminence among gentlemen, that he pledged himself never to ask for a nearer connection, even if their only child should die; he added, with a moving piety, which God forbid!' in case it might be imagined that the death of the daughter was as much his hope as the destruction of the mother. The separation thus delicately effected made only an apparent change in the relative position of the parties. They had before occupied the same house, because they had lived under one roof, but in a state of complete separation; and now the only difference was that, instead of making a partition of the dwelling, and assigning her one-half its interior, he was graciously pleased to make a new division of the same mansion, giving her the outside, and keeping the inside to his mistresses and himself.”
In the two sentences we have italicized, at all events in the first of them, Brougham's ferocity of contempt blazes out in its full power. Sometimes, we think it a little overreaches itself in grasping after new forms of reiteration, and we fancy that in the latter of these sentences there is a flavour of extravagance which rather injures the intensity. Vanity, which was terribly strong in Brougham,—perhaps as strong as any hate, now and then weakened the intellectual expression of that hate. He makes his hero in Albert Lunel pray, in an agony of fear, "for omniscience and omnipresence," that he may know what people are saying of him. We should imagine that the idea had actually suggested itself to his own mind, but that the fear was not fear of the kind which he imputes to his
Lord Brougham has left us a character of himself under the thin disguise of the Baron de Moulin, which illustrates this one of his defects, while exaggerating, we think, others of them, and it is so curious that we will extract it here. The character is introduced with a discussion of the Baron's attentions to a great beauty, the wife of another: —
"But how did she and he go on? I suppose she relished him?'-'As who does not? His various learning; his brilliant wit; his drollery, for it now soars to the Attic heights and now sweeps the Doric levels; his grave, serious, even severe, though God wot never ascetic moments; his liveliness, alternating with sarcasm, like the clouds which course along the sky, now hiding and now revealing the sun, now screening us from his glare, and now descending in tempests of thunder-all this must have made a strongish impression on a very clever woman, though he has absolutely none of the qualities which win the ordinary female mind; he is plain, nay, as near being ugly as any intelligent countenance will allow; he sings not, plays not, paints not, dances not; he neither hunts, nor hawks, nor shoots; he gambles not; and he dresses so that were he to appear in our salons at Paris, he must either serve a long noviciate, or attain high station, or make some happy hit that all can talk about-else success he never could have; add to all which, manners, though high enough bred, yet abrupt, a temper not under strict control, and as much pride as falls to one man's share.'- " Is he amiable in other respects?' asked Lord Mornton; for somehow he holds himself so much aloof, that the more one sees of him the less one knows of him.'-Amiable it is quite impossible any one can be with his hot temper, and the sin raging in him without control whereby our first parents fell. But he is also revengeful, and I should say could forgive more easily than he can forget.'- Do you hold him selfish?'-In the utmost sense of the word. I don't mean to say he is incapable of generosity; he is of course generous, because he is proud, and cannot stoop to reckon pounds, munificent by force of being magnificent, would shillings, and pence, (louis et livres). He is give to deserving objects rather than to others, but must give to some, that he may be above counting cost, and also make men feel grateful and dependent. But I think he despises, perhaps hates, all he confers favours upon.""
The exaggerated vanity of the first part of