Part 7 out of 7
treasury of legislative procedure for all time. Goldsmith failed
in passing as a surgeon; but he wrote the 'Deserted Village' and
the 'Vicar of Wakefield;' whilst Addison failed as a speaker, but
succeeded in writing 'Sir Roger de Coverley,' and his many famous
papers in the 'Spectator.'
Even the privation of some important bodily sense, such as sight
or hearing, has not been sufficient to deter courageous men from
zealously pursuing the struggle of life. Milton, when struck by
blindness, "still bore up and steered right onward." His greatest
works were produced during that period of his life in which be
suffered most--when he was poor, sick, old, blind, slandered,
The lives of some of the greatest men have been a continuous
struggle with difficulty and apparent defeat. Dante produced his
greatest work in penury and exile. Banished from his native city
by the local faction to which he was opposed, his house was given
up to plunder, and he was sentenced in his absence to be burnt
alive. When informed by a friend that he might return to
Florence, if he would consent to ask for pardon and absolution, he
replied: "No! This is not the way that shall lead me back to my
country. I will return with hasty steps if you, or any other,
can open to me a way that shall not derogate from the fame or
the honour of Dante; but if by no such way Florence can be
entered, then to Florence I shall never return." His enemies
remaining implacable, Dante, after a banishment of twenty years,
died in exile. They even pursued him after death, when his
book, 'De Monarchia,' was publicly burnt at Bologna by order
of the Papal Legate.
Camoens also wrote his great poems mostly in banishment. Tired of
solitude at Santarem, he joined an expedition against the Moors,
in which he distinguished himself by his bravery. He lost an eye
when boarding an enemy's ship in a sea-fight. At Goa, in the East
Indies, he witnessed with indignation the cruelty practised by the
Portuguese on the natives, and expostulated with the governor
against it. He was in consequence banished from the settlement,
and sent to China. In the course of his subsequent adventures and
misfortunes, Camoens suffered shipwreck, escaping only with his
life and the manuscript of his 'Lusiad.' Persecution and hardship
seemed everywhere to pursue him. At Macao he was thrown into
prison. Escaping from it, he set sail for Lisbon, where he
arrived, after sixteen years' absence, poor and friendless. His
'Lusiad,' which was shortly after published, brought him much
fame, but no money. But for his old Indian slave Antonio, who
begged for his master in the streets, Camoens must have perished.
(5) As it was, he died in a public almshouse, worn out by disease
and hardship. An inscription was placed over his grave:--"Here
lies Luis de Camoens: he excelled all the poets of his time: he
lived poor and miserable; and he died so, MDLXXIX." This record,
disgraceful but truthful, has since been removed; and a lying and
pompous epitaph, in honour of the great national poet of Portugal,
has been substituted in its stead.
Even Michael Angelo was exposed, during the greater part of his
life, to the persecutions of the envious--vulgar nobles, vulgar
priests, and sordid men of every degree, who could neither
sympathise with him, nor comprehend his genius. When Paul IV.
condemned some of his work in 'The Last Judgment,' the artist
observed that "The Pope would do better to occupy himself with
correcting the disorders and indecencies which disgrace the world,
than with any such hypercriticisms upon his art."
Tasso also was the victim of almost continual persecution and
calumny. After lying in a madhouse for seven years, he became a
wanderer over Italy; and when on his deathbed, he wrote: "I will
not complain of the malignity of fortune, because I do not choose
to speak of the ingratitude of men who have succeeded in dragging
me to the tomb of a mendicant"
But Time brings about strange revenges. The persecutors and the
persecuted often change places; it is the latter who are great--
the former who are infamous. Even the names of the persecutors
would probably long ago have been forgotten, but for their
connection with the history of the men whom they have persecuted.
Thus, who would now have known of Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, but for
his imprisonment of Tasso? Or, who would have heard of the
existence of the Grand Duke of Wurtemburg of some ninety years
back, but for his petty persecution of Schiller?
Science also has had its martyrs, who have fought their way to
light through difficulty, persecution, and suffering. We need not
refer again to the cases of Bruno, Galileo, and others, (6)
persecuted because of the supposed heterodoxy of their views. But
there have been other unfortunates amongst men of science, whose
genius has been unable to save them from the fury of their
enemies. Thus Bailly, the celebrated French astronomer (who had
been mayor of Paris), and Lavoisier, the great chemist, were both
guillotined in the first French Revolution. When the latter,
after being sentenced to death by the Commune, asked for a few
days' respite, to enable him to ascertain the result of some
experiments he had made during his confinement, the tribunal
refused his appeal, and ordered him for immediate execution--one
of the judges saying, that "the Republic had no need of
philosophers." In England also, about the same time, Dr.
Priestley, the father of modern chemistry, had his house burnt
over his head, and his library destroyed, amidst shouts of "No
philosophers!" and he fled from his native country to lay his
bones in a foreign land.
The work of some of the greatest discoverers has been done in the
midst of persecution, difficulty, and suffering. Columbus, who
discovered the New World and gave it as a heritage to the Old, was
in his lifetime persecuted, maligned, and plundered by those whom
he had enriched. Mungo Park's drowning agony in the African river
he had discovered, but which he was not to live to describe;
Clapperton's perishing of fever on the banks of the great lake, in
the heart of the same continent, which was afterwards to be
rediscovered and described by other explorers; Franklin's
perishing in the snow--it might be after he had solved the long-
sought problem of the North-west Passage--are among the most
melancholy events in the history of enterprise and genius.
The case of Flinders the navigator, who suffered a six years'
imprisonment in the Isle of France, was one of peculiar hardship.
In 1801, he set sail from England in the INVESTIGATOR, on a voyage
of discovery and survey, provided with a French pass, requiring
all French governors (notwithstanding that England and France were
at war) to give him protection and succour in the sacred name of
science. In the course of his voyage he surveyed great part of
Australia, Van Diemen's Land, and the neighbouring islands. The
INVESTIGATOR, being found leaky and rotten, was condemned, and the
navigator embarked as passenger in the PORPOISE for England, to
lay the results of his three years' labours before the Admiralty.
On the voyage home the PORPOISE was wrecked on a reef in the South
Seas, and Flinders, with part of the crew, in an open boat, made
for Port Jackson, which they safely reached, though distant from
the scene of the wreck not less than 750 miles. There he procured
a small schooner, the CUMBERLAND, no larger than a Gravesend
sailing-boat, and returned for the remainder of the crew, who had
been left on the reef. Having rescued them, he set sail for
England, making for the Isle of France, which the CUMBERLAND
reached in a sinking condition, being a wretched little craft
badly found. To his surprise, he was made a prisoner with all his
crew, and thrown into prison, where he was treated with brutal
harshness, his French pass proving no protection to him. What
aggravated the horrors of Flinders' confinement was, that he knew
that Baudin, the French navigator, whom he had encountered while
making his survey of the Australian coasts, would reach Europe
first, and claim the merit of all the discoveries he had made. It
turned out as he had expected; and while Flinders was still
imprisoned in the Isle of France, the French Atlas of the new
discoveries was published, all the points named by Flinders and
his precursors being named afresh. Flinders was at length
liberated, after six years' imprisonment, his health completely
broken; but he continued correcting his maps, and writing out
his descriptions to the last. He only lived long enough to
correct his final sheet for the press, and died on the very
day that his work was published!
Courageous men have often turned enforced solitude to account in
executing works of great pith and moment. It is in solitude that
the passion for spiritual perfection best nurses itself. The soul
communes with itself in loneliness until its energy often becomes
intense. But whether a man profits by solitude or not will mainly
depend upon his own temperament, training, and character. While,
in a large-natured man, solitude will make the pure heart purer,
in the small-natured man it will only serve to make the hard heart
still harder: for though solitude may be the nurse of great
spirits, it is the torment of small ones.
It was in prison that Boetius wrote his 'Consolations of
Philosophy,' and Grotius his 'Commentary on St. Matthew,' regarded
as his masterwork in Biblical Criticism. Buchanan composed his
beautiful 'Paraphrases on the Psalms' while imprisoned in the cell
of a Portuguese monastery. Campanella, the Italian patriot monk,
suspected of treason, was immured for twenty-seven years in a
Neapolitan dungeon, during which, deprived of the sun's light, he
sought higher light, and there created his 'Civitas Solis,' which
has been so often reprinted and reproduced in translations in most
European languages. During his thirteen years' imprisonment in
the Tower, Raleigh wrote his 'History of the World,' a project of
vast extent, of which he was only able to finish the first five
books. Luther occupied his prison hours in the Castle of Wartburg
in translating the Bible, and in writing the famous tracts and
treatises with which he inundated all Germany.
It was to the circumstance of John Bunyan having been cast into
gaol that we probably owe the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' He was thus
driven in upon himself; having no opportunity for action, his
active mind found vent in earnest thinking and meditation; and
indeed, after his enlargement, his life as an author virtually
ceased. His 'Grace Abounding' and the 'Holy War' were also
written in prison. Bunyan lay in Bedford Gaol, with a few
intervals of precarious liberty, during not less than twelve
years; (7) and it was most probably to his prolonged imprisonment
that we owe what Macaulay has characterised as the finest
allegory in the world.
All the political parties of the times in which Bunyan lived,
imprisoned their opponents when they had the opportunity and the
power. Bunyan's prison experiences were principally in the time
of Charles II. But in the preceding reign of Charles I., as well
as during the Commonwealth, illustrious prisoners were very
numerous. The prisoners of the former included Sir John Eliot,
Hampden, Selden, Prynne (8) (a most voluminous prison-writer), and
many more. It was while under strict confinement in the Tower,
that Eliot composed his noble treatise, 'The Monarchy of Man.'
George Wither, the poet, was another prisoner of Charles the
First, and it was while confined in the Marshalsea that he wrote
his famous 'Satire to the King.' At the Restoration he was again
imprisoned in Newgate, from which he was transferred to the Tower,
and he is supposed by some to have died there.
The Commonwealth also had its prisoners. Sir William Davenant,
because of his loyalty, was for some time confined a prisoner in
Cowes Castle, where he wrote the greater part of his poem of
'Gondibert': and it is said that his life was saved principally
through the generous intercession of Milton. He lived to repay
the debt, and to save Milton's life when "Charles enjoyed his own
again." Lovelace, the poet and cavalier, was also imprisoned by
the Roundheads, and was only liberated from the Gatehouse on
giving an enormous bail. Though he suffered and lost all for the
Stuarts, he was forgotten by them at the Restoration, and died
in extreme poverty.
Besides Wither and Bunyan, Charles II. imprisoned Baxter,
Harrington (the author of 'Oceana'), Penn, and many more. All
these men solaced their prison hours with writing. Baxter wrote
some of the most remarkable passages of his 'Life and Times' while
lying in the King's Bench Prison; and Penn wrote his 'No Cross no
Crown' while imprisoned in the Tower. In the reign of Queen Anne,
Matthew Prior was in confinement on a vamped-up charge of treason
for two years, during which he wrote his 'Alma, or Progress
of the Soul.'
Since then, political prisoners of eminence in England have been
comparatively few in number. Among the most illustrious were De
Foe, who, besides standing three times in the pillory, spent much
of his time in prison, writing 'Robinson Crusoe' there, and many
of his best political pamphlets. There also he wrote his 'Hymn to
the Pillory,' and corrected for the press a collection of his
voluminous writings. (9) Smollett wrote his 'Sir Lancelot
Greaves' in prison, while undergoing confinement for libel.
Of recent prison-writers in England, the best known are James
Montgomery, who wrote his first volume of poems while a prisoner
in York Castle; and Thomas Cooper, the Chartist, who wrote his
'Purgatory of Suicide' in Stafford Gaol.
Silvio Pellico was one of the latest and most illustrious of the
prison writers of Italy. He lay confined in Austrian gaols for
ten years, eight of which he passed in the Castle of Spielberg in
Moravia. It was there that he composed his charming 'Memoirs,'
the only materials for which were furnished by his fresh living
habit of observation; and out of even the transient visits of his
gaoler's daughter, and the colourless events of his monotonous
daily life, he contrived to make for himself a little world of
thought and healthy human interest.
Kazinsky, the great reviver of Hungarian literature, spent
seven years of his life in the dungeons of Buda, Brunne,
Kufstein, and Munkacs, during which he wrote a 'Diary of his
Imprisonment,' and amongst other things translated Sterno's
'Sentimental Journey;' whilst Kossuth beguiled his two years'
imprisonment at Buda in studying English, so as to be able to
read Shakspeare in the original.
Men who, like these, suffer the penalty of law, and seem to fail,
at least for a time, do not really fail. Many, who have seemed to
fail utterly, have often exercised a more potent and enduring
influence upon their race, than those whose career has been a
course of uninterupted success. The character of a man does not
depend on whether his efforts are immediately followed by failure
or by success. The martyr is not a failure if the truth for which
he suffered acquires a fresh lustre through his sacrifice. (10)
The patriot who lays down his life for his cause, may thereby
hasten its triumph; and those who seem to throw their lives away
in the van of a great movement, often open a way for those who
follow them, and pass over their dead bodies to victory. The
triumph of a just cause may come late; but when it does come, it
is due as much to those who failed in their first efforts, as to
those who succeeded in their last.
The example of a great death may be an inspiration to others, as
well as the example of a good life. A great act does not perish
with the life of him who performs it, but lives and grows up into
like acts in those who survive the doer thereof and cherish his
memory. Of some great men, it might almost be said that they have
not begun to live until they have died.
The names of the men who have suffered in the cause of religion,
of science, and of truth, are the men of all others whose memories
are held in the greatest esteem and reverence by mankind. They
perished, but their truth survived. They seemed to fail, and yet
they eventually succeeded. (11) Prisons may have held them, but
their thoughts were not to be confined by prison-walls. They have
burst through, and defied the power of their persecutors. It was
Lovelace, a prisoner, who wrote:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage."
It was a saying of Milton that, "who best can suffer best can do."
The work of many of the greatest men, inspired by duty, has been
done amidst suffering and trial and difficulty. They have
struggled against the tide, and reached the shore exhausted, only
to grasp the sand and expire. They have done their duty, and been
content to die. But death hath no power over such men; their
hallowed memories still survive, to soothe and purify and bless
us. "Life," said Goethe, "to us all is suffering. Who save God
alone shall call us to our reckoning? Let not reproaches fall on
the departed. Not what they have failed in, nor what they have
suffered, but what they have done, ought to occupy the survivors."
Thus, it is not ease and facility that tries men, and brings out
the good that is in them, so much as trial and difficulty.
Adversity is the touchstone of character. As some herbs need to
be crushed to give forth their sweetest odour, so some natures
need to be tried by suffering to evoke the excellence that is in
them. Hence trials often unmask virtues, and bring to light
hidden graces. Men apparently useless and purposeless, when
placed in positions of difficulty and responsibility, have
exhibited powers of character before unsuspected; and where we
before saw only pliancy and self-indulgence, we now see strength,
valour, and self-denial.
As there are no blessings which may not he perverted into evils,
so there are no trials which may not be converted into blessings.
All depends on the manner in which we profit by them or otherwise.
Perfect happiness is not to be looked for in this world. If it
could be secured, it would be found profitless. The hollowest of
all gospels is the gospel of ease and comfort. Difficulty, and
even failure, are far better teachers. Sir Humphry Davy said:
"Even in private life, too much prosperity either injures
the moral man, and occasions conduct which ends in suffering;
or it is accompanied by the workings of envy, calumny, and
malevolence of others."
Failure improves tempers and strengthens the nature. Even sorrow
is in some mysterious way linked with joy and associated with
tenderness. John Bunyan once said how, "if it were lawful, he
could even pray for greater trouble, for the greater comfort's
sake." When surprise was expressed at the patience of a poor
Arabian woman under heavy affliction, she said, "When we look on
God's face we do not feel His hand."
Suffering is doubtless as divinely appointed as joy, while it is
much more influential as a discipline of character. It chastens
and sweetens the nature, teaches patience and resignation, and
promotes the deepest as well as the most exalted thought. (12)
"The best of men
That e'er wore earth about Him was a sufferer;
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit
The first true gentleman that ever breathed." (13)
Suffering may be the appointed means by which the highest nature
of man is to be disciplined and developed. Assuming happiness to
be the end of being, sorrow may be the indispensable condition
through which it is to be reached. Hence St. Paul's noble paradox
descriptive of the Christian life,--"as chastened, and not
killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making
many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
Even pain is not all painful. On one side it is related to
suffering, and on the other to happiness. For pain is remedial as
well as sorrowful. Suffering is a misfortune as viewed from the
one side, and a discipline as viewed from the other. But for
suffering, the best part of many men's nature would sleep a deep
sleep. Indeed, it might almost be said that pain and sorrow were
the indispensable conditions of some men's success, and the
necessary means to evoke the highest development of their genius.
Shelley has said of poets:
"Most wretched men are cradled into poetry by wrong,
They learn in suffering what they teach in song."
Does any one suppose that Burns would have sung as he did,
had he been rich, respectable, and "kept a gig;" or Byron,
if he had been a prosperous, happily-married Lord Privy Seal
Sometimes a heartbreak rouses an impassive nature to life.
"What does he know," said a sage, "who has not suffered?"
When Dumas asked Reboul, "What made you a poet?" his answer was,
"Suffering!" It was the death, first of his wife, and then of
his child, that drove him into solitude for the indulgence of
his grief, and eventually led him to seek and find relief in
verse. (14) It was also to a domestic affliction that we owe
the beautiful writings of Mrs. Gaskell. "It was as a recreation,
in the highest sense of the word," says a recent writer, speaking
from personal knowledge, "as an escape from the great void of a
life from which a cherished presence had been taken, that she
began that series of exquisite creations which has served to
multiply the number of our acquaintances, and to enlarge even
the circle of our friendships." (15)
Much of the best and most useful work done by men and women has
been done amidst affliction--sometimes as a relief from it,
sometimes from a sense of duty overpowering personal sorrow. "If
I had not been so great an invalid," said Dr. Darwin to a friend,
"I should not have done nearly so much work as I have been able to
accomplish." So Dr. Donne, speaking of his illnesses, once said:
"This advantage you and my other friends have by my frequent
fevers is, that I am so much the oftener at the gates of Heaven;
and by the solitude and close imprisonment they reduce me to, I am
so much the oftener at my prayers, in which you and my other dear
friends are not forgotten."
Schiller produced his greatest tragedies in the midst of physical
suffering almost amounting to torture. Handel was never greater
than when, warned by palsy of the approach of death, and
struggling with distress and suffering, he sat down to compose the
great works which have made his name immortal in music. Mozart
composed his great operas, and last of all his 'Requiem,' when
oppressed by debt, and struggling with a fatal disease. Beethoven
produced his greatest works amidst gloomy sorrow, when oppressed
by almost total deafness. And poor Schubert, after his short but
brilliant life, laid it down at the early age of thirty-two;
his sole property at his death consisting of his manuscripts,
the clothes he wore, and sixty-three florins in money. Some of
Lamb's finest writings were produced amidst deep sorrow, and
Hood's apparent gaiety often sprang from a suffering heart.
As he himself wrote,
"There's not a string attuned to mirth,
But has its chord in melancholy."
Again, in science, we have the noble instance of the suffering
Wollaston, even in the last stages of the mortal disease which
afflicted him, devoting his numbered hours to putting on record,
by dictation, the various discoveries and improvements he had
made, so that any knowledge he had acquired, calculated to benefit
his fellow-creatures, might not be lost.
Afflictions often prove but blessings in disguise. "Fear not the
darkness," said the Persian sage; it "conceals perhaps the springs
of the waters of life." Experience is often bitter, but
wholesome; only by its teaching can we learn to suffer and be
strong. Character, in its highest forms, is disciplined by trial,
and "made perfect through suffering." Even from the deepest
sorrow, the patient and thoughtful mind will gather richer wisdom
than pleasure ever yielded.
"The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time has made."
"Consider," said Jeremy Taylor, "that sad accidents, and a state
of afflictions, is a school of virtue. It reduces our spirits to
soberness, and our counsels to moderation; it corrects levity, and
interrupts the confidence of sinning.... God, who in mercy and
wisdom governs the world, would never have suffered so many
sadnesses, and have sent them, especially, to the most virtuous
and the wisest men, but that He intends they should be the
seminary of comfort, the nursery of virtue, the exercise of
wisdom, the trial of patience, the venturing for a crown,
and the gate of glory." (16)
And again:--"No man is more miserable than he that hath no
adversity. That man is not tried, whether he be good or bad;
and God never crowns those virtues which are only FACULTIES
and DISPOSITIONS; but every act of virtue is an ingredient
unto reward." (17)
Prosperity and success of themselves do not confer happiness;
indeed, it not unfrequently happens that the least successful in
life have the greatest share of true joy in it. No man could have
been more successful than Goethe--possessed of splendid health,
honour, power, and sufficiency of this world's goods--and yet he
confessed that he had not, in the course of his life, enjoyed five
weeks of genuine pleasure. So the Caliph Abdalrahman, in
surveying his successful reign of fifty years, found that he had
enjoyed only fourteen days of pure and genuine happiness. (18)
After this, might it not be said that the pursuit of mere
happiness is an illusion?
Life, all sunshine without shade, all happiness without sorrow,
all pleasure without pain, were not life at all--at least not
human life. Take the lot of the happiest--it is a tangled yarn.
It is made up of sorrows and joys; and the joys are all the
sweeter because of the sorrows; bereavements and blessings, one
following another, making us sad and blessed by turns. Even death
itself makes life more loving; it binds us more closely together
while here. Dr. Thomas Browne has argued that death is one of the
necessary conditions of human happiness; and he supports his
argument with great force and eloquence. But when death comes
into a household, we do not philosophise--we only feel. The
eyes that are full of tears do not see; though in course of
time they come to see more clearly and brightly than those
that have never known sorrow.
The wise person gradually learns not to expect too much from life.
While he strives for success by worthy methods, he will be
prepared for failures, he will keep his mind open to enjoyment,
but submit patiently to suffering. Wailings and complainings of
life are never of any use; only cheerful and continuous working
in right paths are of real avail.
Nor will the wise man expect too much from those about him. If he
would live at peace with others, he will bear and forbear. And
even the best have often foibles of character which have to be
endured, sympathised with, and perhaps pitied. Who is perfect?
Who does not suffer from some thorn in the flesh? Who does not
stand in need of toleration, of forbearance, of forgiveness? What
the poor imprisoned Queen Caroline Matilda of Denmark wrote on her
chapel-window ought to be the prayer of all,--"Oh! keep me
innocent! make others great."
Then, how much does the disposition of every human being depend
upon their innate constitution and their early surroundings;
the comfort or discomfort of the homes in which they have been
brought up; their inherited characteristics; and the examples,
good or bad, to which they have been exposed through life!
Regard for such considerations should teach charity and
forbearance to all men.
At the same time, life will always be to a large extent what we
ourselves make it. Each mind makes its own little world. The
cheerful mind makes it pleasant, and the discontented mind makes
it miserable. "My mind to me a kingdom is," applies alike to the
peasant as to the monarch. The one may be in his heart a king, as
the other may be a slave. Life is for the most part but the
mirror of our own individual selves. Our mind gives to all
situations, to all fortunes, high or low, their real characters.
To the good, the world is good; to the bad, it is bad. If our
views of life be elevated--if we regard it as a sphere of useful
effort, of high living and high thinking, of working for others'
good as well as our own--it will be joyful, hopeful, and blessed.
If, on the contrary, we regard it merely as affording
opportunities for self-seeking, pleasure, and aggrandisement, it
will be full of toil, anxiety, and disappointment.
There is much in life that, while in this state, we can never
comprehend. There is, indeed, a great deal of mystery in life--
much that we see "as in a glass darkly." But though we may not
apprehend the full meaning of the discipline of trial through
which the best have to pass, we must have faith in the
completeness of the design of which our little individual
lives form a part.
We have each to do our duty in that sphere of life in which we
have been placed. Duty alone is true; there is no true action but
in its accomplishment. Duty is the end and aim of the highest
life; the truest pleasure of all is that derived from the
consciousness of its fulfilment. Of all others, it is the one
that is most thoroughly satisfying, and the least accompanied by
regret and disappointment. In the words of George Herbert, the
consciousness of duty performed "gives us music at midnight."
And when we have done our work on earth--of necessity, of labour,
of love, or of duty,--like the silkworm that spins its little
cocoon and dies, we too depart. But, short though our stay in
life may be, it is the appointed sphere in which each has to work
out the great aim and end of his being to the best of his power;
and when that is done, the accidents of the flesh will affect but
little the immortality we shall at last put on:
"Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
Half that we have
Unto an honest faithful grave;
Making our pillows either down or dust!"
(1) 'Calcutta Review,' article on 'Romance and Reality of Indian Life.'
(2) Joseph Lancaster was only twenty years of age when (in 1798)
he opened his first school in a spare room in his father's house,
which was soon filled with the destitute children of the
neighbourhood. The room was shortly found too small for the
numbers seeking admission, and one place after another was hired,
until at length Lancaster had a special building erected, capable
of accommodating a thousand pupils; outside of which was placed
the following notice:--"All that will, may send their children
here, and have them educated freely; and those that do not wish to
have education for nothing, may pay for it if they please." Thus
Joseph Lancaster was the precursor of our present system of
(3) A great musician once said of a promising but passionless
cantatrice--"She sings well, but she wants something, and in that
something everything. If I were single, I would court her; I
would marry her; I would maltreat her; I would break her heart;
and in six months she would be the greatest singer in Europe!"--
(4) Prescot's 'Essays,' art. Cervantes.
(5) A cavalier, named Ruy de Camera, having called upon Camoens to
furnish a poetical version of the seven penitential psalms, the
poet, raising his head from his miserable pallet, and pointing to
his faithful slave, exclaimed: "Alas! when I was a poet, I was
young, and happy, and blest with the love of ladies; but now, I am
a forlorn deserted wretch! See--there stands my poor Antonio,
vainly supplicating FOURPENCE to purchase a little coals. I have
not them to give him!" The cavalier, Sousa quaintly relates, in
his 'Life of Camoens,' closed his heart and his purse, and quitted
the room. Such were the grandees of Portugal!--Lord Strangford's
REMARKS ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF CAMOENS, 1824.
(6) See chapter v. p. 125.
(7) A Quaker called on Bunyan one day with "a message from the Lord,"
saying he had been to half the gaols of England, and was glad at
last to have found him. To which Bunyan replied: "If the Lord
sent thee, you would not have needed to take so much trouble to
find me out, for He knew that I have been in Bedford Gaol these
seven years past."
(8) Prynne, besides standing in the pillory and having his ears cut
off, was imprisoned by turns in the Tower, Mont Orgueil (Jersey),
Dunster Castle, Taunton Castle, and Pendennis Castle. He after-
wards pleaded zealously for the Restoration, and was made Keeper
of the Records by Charles II. It has been computed that Prynne
wrote, compiled, and printed about eight quarto pages for every
working-day of his life, from his reaching man's estate to the day
of his death. Though his books were for the most part
appropriated by the trunkmakers, they now command almost fabulous
prices, chiefly because of their rarity.
(9) He also projected his 'Review' in prison--the first periodical of
the kind, which pointed the way to the host of 'Tatlers,'
'Guardians,' and 'Spectators,' which followed it. The 'Review'
consisted of 102 numbers, forming nine quarto volumes, all of
which were written by De Foe himself, while engaged in other and
(10) A passage in the Earl of Carlisles Lecture on Pope--'Heaven was
made for those who have failed in this world'--struck me very
forcibly several years ago when I read it in a newspaper, and
became a rich vein of thought, in which I often quarried,
especially when the sentence was interpreted by the Cross, which
was failure apparently."--LIFE AND LETTERS OF ROBERTSON (of
Brighton), ii. 94.
(11) "Not all who seem to fail, have failed indeed;
Not all who fail have therefore worked in vain:
For all our acts to many issues lead;
And out of earnest purpose, pure and plain,
Enforced by honest toil of hand or brain,
The Lord will fashion, in His own good time,
(Be this the labourer's proudly-humble creed,)
Such ends as, to His wisdom, fitliest chime
With His vast love's eternal harmonies.
There is no failure for the good and wise:
What though thy seed should fall by the wayside
And the birds snatch it;--yet the birds are fed;
Or they may bear it far across the tide,
To give rich harvests after thou art dead."
POLITICS FOR THE PEOPLE, 1848.
(12) "What is it," says Mr. Helps, "that promotes the most and the
deepest thought in the human race? It is not learning; it is not
the conduct of business; it is not even the impulse of the
affections. It is suffering; and that, perhaps, is the reason why
there is so much suffering in the world. The angel who went down
to trouble the waters and to make them healing, was not, perhaps,
entrusted with so great a boon as the angel who benevolently
inflicted upon the sufferers the disease from which they
(13) These lines were written by Deckar, in a spirit of boldness
equal to its piety. Hazlitt has or said of them, that they
"ought to embalm his memory to every one who has a sense either
of religion, or philosophy, or humanity, or true genius."
(14) Reboul, originally a baker of Nismes, was the author of many
beautiful poems--amongst others, of the exquisite piece known in
this country by its English translation, entitled 'The Angel and
(15) 'Cornhill Magazine,' vol. xvi. p. 322.
(16) 'Holy Living and Dying,' ch. ii. sect. 6.
(17) Ibid., ch. iii. sect. 6.
(18) Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' vol. x. p. 40.