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Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle

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Alas, shut out from Hope, in a deeper sense than we yet dream of! For, as
he wanders wearisomely through this world, he has now lost all tidings of
another and higher. Full of religion, or at least of religiosity, as our
Friend has since exhibited himself, he hides not that, in those days, he
was wholly irreligious: "Doubt had darkened into Unbelief," says he;
"shade after shade goes grimly over your soul, till you have the fixed,
starless, Tartarean black." To such readers as have reflected, what can be
called reflecting, on man's life, and happily discovered, in contradiction
to much Profit-and-Loss Philosophy, speculative and practical, that Soul is
not synonymous with Stomach; who understand, therefore, in our Friend's
words, "that, for man's well-being, Faith is properly the one thing
needful; how, with it, Martyrs, otherwise weak, can cheerfully endure the
shame and the cross; and without it, Worldlings puke up their sick
existence, by suicide, in the midst of luxury:" to such it will be clear
that, for a pure moral nature, the loss of his religious Belief was the
loss of everything. Unhappy young man! All wounds, the crush of
long-continued Destitution, the stab of false Friendship and of false Love,
all wounds in thy so genial heart, would have healed again, had not its
life-warmth been withdrawn. Well might he exclaim, in his wild way: "Is
there no God, then; but at best an absentee God, sitting idle, ever since
the first Sabbath, at the outside of his Universe, and _see_ing it go? Has
the word Duty no meaning; is what we call Duty no divine Messenger and
Guide, but a false earthly Phantasm, made up of Desire and Fear, of
emanations from the Gallows and from Doctor Graham's Celestial-Bed?
Happiness of an approving Conscience! Did not Paul of Tarsus, whom
admiring men have since named Saint, feel that _he_ was 'the chief of
sinners;' and Nero of Rome, jocund in spirit (_wohlgemuth_), spend much of
his time in fiddling? Foolish Wordmonger and Motive-grinder, who in thy
Logic-mill hast an earthly mechanism for the Godlike itself, and wouldst
fain grind me out Virtue from the husks of Pleasure,--I tell thee, Nay! To
the unregenerate Prometheus Vinctus of a man, it is ever the bitterest
aggravation of his wretchedness that he is conscious of Virtue, that he
feels himself the victim not of suffering only, but of injustice. What
then? Is the heroic inspiration we name Virtue but some Passion; some
bubble of the blood, bubbling in the direction others _profit_ by? I know
not: only this I know, If what thou namest Happiness be our true aim, then
are we all astray. With Stupidity and sound Digestion man may front much.
But what, in these dull unimaginative days, are the terrors of Conscience
to the diseases of the Liver! Not on Morality, but on Cookery, let us
build our stronghold: there brandishing our frying-pan, as censer, let us
offer sweet incense to the Devil, and live at ease on the fat things he has
provided for his Elect!"

Thus has the bewildered Wanderer to stand, as so many have done, shouting
question after question into the Sibyl-cave of Destiny, and receive no
Answer but an Echo. It is all a grim Desert, this once-fair world of his;
wherein is heard only the howling of wild beasts, or the shrieks of
despairing, hate-filled men; and no Pillar of Cloud by day, and no Pillar
of Fire by night, any longer guides the Pilgrim. To such length has the
spirit of Inquiry carried him. "But what boots it (_was thut's_)?" cries
he: "it is but the common lot in this era. Not having come to spiritual
majority prior to the _Siecle de Louis Quinze_, and not being born purely a
Loghead (_Dummkopf_ ), thou hadst no other outlook. The whole world is,
like thee, sold to Unbelief; their old Temples of the Godhead, which for
long have not been rain-proof, crumble down; and men ask now: Where is the
Godhead; our eyes never saw him?"

Pitiful enough were it, for all these wild utterances, to call our Diogenes
wicked. Unprofitable servants as we all are, perhaps at no era of his life
was he more decisively the Servant of Goodness, the Servant of God, than
even now when doubting God's existence. "One circumstance I note," says
he: "after all the nameless woe that Inquiry, which for me, what it is not
always, was genuine Love of Truth, had wrought me! I nevertheless still
loved Truth, and would bate no jot of my allegiance to her. 'Truth!' I
cried, 'though the Heavens crush me for following her: no Falsehood!
though a whole celestial Lubberland were the price of Apostasy.' In
conduct it was the same. Had a divine Messenger from the clouds, or
miraculous Handwriting on the wall, convincingly proclaimed to me _This
thou shalt do_, with what passionate readiness, as I often thought, would I
have done it, had it been leaping into the infernal Fire. Thus, in spite
of all Motive-grinders, and Mechanical Profit-and-Loss Philosophies, with
the sick ophthalmia and hallucination they had brought on, was the Infinite
nature of Duty still dimly present to me: living without God in the world,
of God's light I was not utterly bereft; if my as yet sealed eyes, with
their unspeakable longing, could nowhere see Him, nevertheless in my heart
He was present, and His heaven-written Law still stood legible and sacred

Meanwhile, under all these tribulations, and temporal and spiritual
destitutions, what must the Wanderer, in his silent soul, have endured!
"The painfullest feeling," writes he, "is that of your own Feebleness
(_Unkraft_); ever, as the English Milton says, to be weak is the true
misery. And yet of your Strength there is and can be no clear feeling,
save by what you have prospered in, by what you have done. Between vague
wavering Capability and fixed indubitable Performance, what a difference!
A certain inarticulate Self-consciousness dwells dimly in us; which only
our Works can render articulate and decisively discernible. Our Works are
the mirror wherein the spirit first sees its natural lineaments. Hence,
too, the folly of that impossible Precept, _Know thyself_; till it be
translated into this partially possible one, _Know what thou canst work

"But for me, so strangely unprosperous had I been, the net-result of my
Workings amounted as yet simply to--Nothing. How then could I believe in
my Strength, when there was as yet no mirror to see it in? Ever did this
agitating, yet, as I now perceive, quite frivolous question, remain to me
insoluble: Hast thou a certain Faculty, a certain Worth, such even as the
most have not; or art thou the completest Dullard of these modern times?
Alas, the fearful Unbelief is unbelief in yourself; and how could I
believe? Had not my first, last Faith in myself, when even to me the
Heavens seemed laid open, and I dared to love, been all too cruelly belied?
The speculative Mystery of Life grew ever more mysterious to me: neither
in the practical Mystery had I made the slightest progress, but been
everywhere buffeted, foiled, and contemptuously cast out. A feeble unit in
the middle of a threatening Infinitude, I seemed to have nothing given me
but eyes, whereby to discern my own wretchedness. Invisible yet
impenetrable walls, as of Enchantment, divided me from all living: was
there, in the wide world, any true bosom I could press trustfully to mine?
O Heaven, No, there was none! I kept a lock upon my lips: why should I
speak much with that shifting variety of so-called Friends, in whose
withered, vain and too-hungry souls Friendship was but an incredible
tradition? In such cases, your resource is to talk little, and that little
mostly from the Newspapers. Now when I look back, it was a strange
isolation I then lived in. The men and women around me, even speaking with
me, were but Figures; I had, practically, forgotten that they were alive,
that they were not merely automatic. In the midst of their crowded streets
and assemblages, I walked solitary; and (except as it was my own heart, not
another's, that I kept devouring) savage also, as the tiger in his jungle.
Some comfort it would have been, could I, like a Faust, have fancied myself
tempted and tormented of the Devil; for a Hell, as I imagine, without Life,
though only diabolic Life, were more frightful: but in our age of
Down-pulling and Disbelief, the very Devil has been pulled down, you cannot
so much as believe in a Devil. To me the Universe was all void of Life, of
Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility: it was one huge, dead,
immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on, in its dead indifference, to grind
me limb from limb. Oh, the vast, gloomy, solitary Golgotha, and Mill of
Death! Why was the Living banished thither companionless, conscious? Why,
if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God?"

A prey incessantly to such corrosions, might not, moreover, as the worst
aggravation to them, the iron constitution even of a Teufelsdrockh threaten
to fail? We conjecture that he has known sickness; and, in spite of his
locomotive habits, perhaps sickness of the chronic sort. Hear this, for
example: "How beautiful to die of broken-heart, on Paper! Quite another
thing in practice; every window of your Feeling, even of your Intellect, as
it were, begrimed and mud-bespattered, so that no pure ray can enter; a
whole Drug-shop in your inwards; the fordone soul drowning slowly in
quagmires of Disgust!"

Putting all which external and internal miseries together, may we not find
in the following sentences, quite in our Professor's still vein,
significance enough? "From Suicide a certain after-shine (_Nachschein_) of
Christianity withheld me: perhaps also a certain indolence of character;
for, was not that a remedy I had at any time within reach? Often, however,
was there a question present to me: Should some one now, at the turning of
that corner, blow thee suddenly out of Space, into the other World, or
other No-world, by pistol-shot,--how were it? On which ground, too, I have
often, in sea-storms and sieged cities and other death-scenes, exhibited an
imperturbability, which passed, falsely enough, for courage."

"So had it lasted," concludes the Wanderer, "so had it lasted, as in bitter
protracted Death-agony, through long years. The heart within me, unvisited
by any heavenly dew-drop, was smouldering in sulphurous, slow-consuming
fire. Almost since earliest memory I had shed no tear; or once only when
I, murmuring half-audibly, recited Faust's Death-song, that wild _Selig der
den er im Siegesglanze findet_ (Happy whom _he_ finds in Battle's
splendor), and thought that of this last Friend even I was not forsaken,
that Destiny itself could not doom me not to die. Having no hope, neither
had I any definite fear, were it of Man or of Devil: nay, I often felt as
if it might be solacing, could the Arch-Devil himself, though in Tartarean
terrors, but rise to me, that I might tell him a little of my mind. And
yet, strangely enough, I lived in a continual, indefinite, pining fear;
tremulous, pusillanimous, apprehensive of I knew not what: it seemed as if
all things in the Heavens above and the Earth beneath would hurt me; as if
the Heavens and the Earth were but boundless jaws of a devouring monster,
wherein I, palpitating, waited to be devoured.

"Full of such humor, and perhaps the miserablest man in the whole French
Capital or Suburbs, was I, one sultry Dog- day, after much perambulation,
toiling along the dirty little _Rue Saint-Thomas de l'Enfer_, among civic
rubbish enough, in a close atmosphere, and over pavements hot as
Nebuchadnezzar's Furnace; whereby doubtless my spirits were little cheered;
when, all at once, there rose a Thought in me, and I asked myself: 'What
_art_ thou afraid of? Wherefore, like a coward, dost thou forever pip and
whimper, and go cowering and trembling? Despicable biped! what is the
sum-total of the worst that lies before thee? Death? Well, Death; and say
the pangs of Tophet too, and all that the Devil and Man may, will or can do
against thee! Hast thou not a heart; canst thou not suffer whatsoever it
be; and, as a Child of Freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under
thy feet, while it consumes thee? Let it come, then; I will meet it and
defy it!' And as I so thought, there rushed like a stream of fire over my
whole soul; and I shook base Fear away from me forever. I was strong, of
unknown strength; a spirit, almost a god. Ever from that time, the temper
of my misery was changed: not Fear or whining Sorrow was it, but
Indignation and grim fire-eyed Defiance.

"Thus had the EVERLASTING NO (_das ewige Nein_) pealed authoritatively
through all the recesses of my Being, of my ME; and then was it that my
whole ME stood up, in native God-created majesty, and with emphasis
recorded its Protest. Such a Protest, the most important transaction in
Life, may that same Indignation and Defiance, in a psychological point of
view, be fitly called. The Everlasting No had said: 'Behold, thou art
fatherless, outcast, and the Universe is mine (the Devil's);' to which my
whole Me now made answer: '_I_ am not thine, but Free, and forever hate

"It is from this hour that I incline to date my Spiritual New-birth, or
Baphometic Fire-baptism; perhaps I directly thereupon began to be a Man."


Though, after this "Baphometic Fire-baptism" of his, our Wanderer signifies
that his Unrest was but increased; as, indeed, "Indignation and Defiance,"
especially against things in general, are not the most peaceable inmates;
yet can the Psychologist surmise that it was no longer a quite hopeless
Unrest; that henceforth it had at least a fixed centre to revolve round.
For the fire-baptized soul, long so scathed and thunder-riven, here feels
its own Freedom, which feeling is its Baphometic Baptism: the citadel of
its whole kingdom it has thus gained by assault, and will keep
inexpugnable; outwards from which the remaining dominions, not indeed
without hard battling, will doubtless by degrees be conquered and
pacificated. Under another figure, we might say, if in that great moment,
in the _Rue Saint-Thomas de l'Enfer_, the old inward Satanic School was not
yet thrown out of doors, it received peremptory judicial notice to
quit;--whereby, for the rest, its howl-chantings, Ernulphus-cursings, and
rebellious gnashings of teeth, might, in the mean while, become only the
more tumultuous, and difficult to keep secret.

Accordingly, if we scrutinize these Pilgrimings well, there is perhaps
discernible henceforth a certain incipient method in their madness. Not
wholly as a Spectre does Teufelsdrockh now storm through the world; at
worst as a spectra-fighting Man, nay who will one day be a Spectre-queller.
If pilgriming restlessly to so many "Saints' Wells," and ever without
quenching of his thirst, he nevertheless finds little secular wells,
whereby from time to time some alleviation is ministered. In a word, he is
now, if not ceasing, yet intermitting to "eat his own heart;" and clutches
round him outwardly on the NOT-ME for wholesomer food. Does not the
following glimpse exhibit him in a much more natural state?

"Towns also and Cities, especially the ancient, I failed not to look upon
with interest. How beautiful to see thereby, as through a long vista, into
the remote Time; to have, as it were, an actual section of almost the
earliest Past brought safe into the Present, and set before your eyes!
There, in that old City, was a live ember of Culinary Fire put down, say
only two thousand years ago; and there, burning more or less triumphantly,
with such fuel as the region yielded, it has burnt, and still burns, and
thou thyself seest the very smoke thereof. Ah! and the far more mysterious
live ember of Vital Fire was then also put down there; and still
miraculously burns and spreads; and the smoke and ashes thereof (in these
Judgment-Halls and Churchyards), and its bellows-engines (in these
Churches), thou still seest; and its flame, looking out from every kind
countenance, and every hateful one, still warms thee or scorches thee.

"Of Man's Activity and Attainment the chief results are aeriform, mystic,
and preserved in Tradition only: such are his Forms of Government, with
the Authority they rest on; his Customs, or Fashions both of Cloth-habits
and of Soul-habits; much more his collective stock of Handicrafts, the
whole Faculty he has acquired of manipulating Nature: all these things, as
indispensable and priceless as they are, cannot in any way be fixed under
lock and key, but must flit, spirit-like, on impalpable vehicles, from
Father to Son; if you demand sight of them, they are nowhere to be met
with. Visible Ploughmen and Hammermen there have been, ever from Cain and
Tubal-cain downwards: but where does your accumulated Agricultural,
Metallurgic, and other Manufacturing SKILL lie warehoused? It transmits
itself on the atmospheric air, on the sun's rays (by Hearing and by
Vision); it is a thing aeriform, impalpable, of quite spiritual sort. In
like manner, ask me not, Where are the LAWS; where is the GOVERNMENT? In
vain wilt thou go to Schonbrunn, to Downing Street, to the Palais Bourbon;
thou findest nothing there but brick or stone houses, and some bundles of
Papers tied with tape. Where, then, is that same cunningly devised
almighty GOVERNMENT of theirs to be laid hands on? Everywhere, yet
nowhere: seen only in its works, this too is a thing aeriform, invisible;
or if you will, mystic and miraculous. So spiritual (_geistig_) is our
whole daily Life: all that we do springs out of Mystery, Spirit, invisible
Force; only like a little Cloud-image, or Armida's Palace, air-built, does
the Actual body itself forth from the great mystic Deep.

"Visible and tangible products of the Past, again, I reckon up to the
extent of three: Cities, with their Cabinets and Arsenals; then tilled
Fields, to either or to both of which divisions Roads with their Bridges
may belong; and thirdly--Books. In which third truly, the last invented,
lies a worth far surpassing that of the two others. Wondrous indeed is the
virtue of a true Book. Not like a dead city of stones, yearly crumbling,
yearly needing repair; more like a tilled field, but then a spiritual
field: like a spiritual tree, let me rather say, it stands from year to
year, and from age to age (we have Books that already number some hundred
and fifty human ages); and yearly comes its new produce of leaves
(Commentaries, Deductions, Philosophical, Political Systems; or were it
only Sermons, Pamphlets, Journalistic Essays), every one of which is
talismanic and thaumaturgic, for it can persuade men. O thou who art able
to write a Book, which once in the two centuries or oftener there is a man
gifted to do, envy not him whom they name City-builder, and inexpressibly
pity him whom they name Conqueror or City-burner! Thou too art a Conqueror
and Victor; but of the true sort, namely over the Devil: thou too hast
built what will outlast all marble and metal, and be a wonder-bringing City
of the Mind, a Temple and Seminary and Prophetic Mount, whereto all
kindreds of the Earth will pilgrim.-- Fool! why journeyest thou
wearisomely, in thy antiquarian fervor, to gaze on the stone pyramids of
Geeza, or the clay ones of Sacchara? These stand there, as I can tell
thee, idle and inert, looking over the Desert, foolishly enough, for the
last three thousand years: but canst thou not open thy Hebrew BIBLE, then,
or even Luther's Version thereof?"

No less satisfactory is his sudden appearance not in Battle, yet on some
Battle-field; which, we soon gather, must be that of Wagram; so that here,
for once, is a certain approximation to distinctness of date. Omitting
much, let us impart what follows:--

"Horrible enough! A whole Marchfeld strewed with shell-splinters,
cannon-shot, ruined tumbrils, and dead men and horses; stragglers still
remaining not so much as buried. And those red mould heaps; ay, there lie
the Shells of Men, out of which all the Life and Virtue has been blown; and
now are they swept together, and crammed down out of sight, like blown
Egg-shells!--Did Nature, when she bade the Donau bring down his
mould-cargoes from the Carinthian and Carpathian Heights, and spread them
out here into the softest, richest level,--intend thee, O Marchfeld, for a
corn-bearing Nursery, whereon her children might be nursed; or for a
Cockpit, wherein they might the more commodiously be throttled and
tattered? Were thy three broad Highways, meeting here from the ends of
Europe, made for Ammunition-wagons, then? Were thy Wagrams and Stillfrieds
but so many ready-built Casemates, wherein the house of Hapsburg might
batter with artillery, and with artillery be battered? Konig Ottokar, amid
yonder hillocks, dies under Rodolf's truncheon; here Kaiser Franz falls
a-swoon under Napoleon's: within which five centuries, to omit the others,
how has thy breast, fair Plain, been defaced and defiled! The greensward
is torn up and trampled down; man's fond care of it, his fruit-trees,
hedge-rows, and pleasant dwellings, blown away with gunpowder; and the kind
seedfield lies a desolate, hideous Place of Skulls.--Nevertheless, Nature
is at work; neither shall these Powder-Devilkins with their utmost devilry
gainsay her: but all that gore and carnage will be shrouded in, absorbed
into manure; and next year the Marchfeld will be green, nay greener.
Thrifty unwearied Nature, ever out of our great waste educing some little
profit of thy own,--how dost thou, from the very carcass of the Killer,
bring Life for the Living!

"What, speaking in quite unofficial language, is the net purport and upshot
of war? To my own knowledge, for example, there dwell and toil, in the
British village of Dumdrudge, usually some five hundred souls. From these,
by certain 'Natural Enemies' of the French, there are successively
selected, during the French war, say thirty able-bodied men; Dumdrudge, at
her own expense, has suckled and nursed them: she has, not without
difficulty and sorrow, fed them up to manhood, and even trained them to
crafts, so that one can weave, another build, another hammer, and the
weakest can stand under thirty stone avoirdupois. Nevertheless, amid much
weeping and swearing, they are selected; all dressed in red; and shipped
away, at the public charges, some two thousand miles, or say only to the
south of Spain; and fed there till wanted. And now to that same spot, in
the south of Spain, are thirty similar French artisans, from a French
Dumdrudge, in like manner wending: till at length, after infinite effort,
the two parties come into actual juxtaposition; and Thirty stands fronting
Thirty, each with a gun in his hand. Straightaway the word 'Fire!' is
given; and they blow the souls out of one another; and in place of sixty
brisk useful craftsmen, the world has sixty dead carcasses, which it must
bury, and anew shed tears for. Had these men any quarrel? Busy as the
Devil is, not the smallest! They lived far enough apart; were the entirest
strangers; nay, in so wide a Universe, there was even, unconsciously, by
Commerce, some mutual helpfulness between them. How then? Simpleton!
their Governors had fallen out; and instead of shooting one another, had
the cunning to make these poor blockheads shoot.--Alas, so is it in
Deutschland, and hitherto in all other lands; still as of old, 'what
devilry soever Kings do, the Greeks must pay the piper!'--In that fiction
of the English Smollett, it is true, the final Cessation of War is perhaps
prophetically shadowed forth; where the two Natural Enemies, in person,
take each a Tobacco-pipe, filled with Brimstone; light the same, and smoke
in one another's faces, till the weaker gives in: but from such predicted
Peace-Era, what blood-filled trenches, and contentious centuries, may still
divide us!"

Thus can the Professor, at least in lucid intervals, look away from his own
sorrows, over the many-colored world, and pertinently enough note what is
passing there. We may remark, indeed, that for the matter of spiritual
culture, if for nothing else, perhaps few periods of his life were richer
than this. Internally, there is the most momentous instructive Course of
Practical Philosophy, with Experiments, going on; towards the right
comprehension of which his Peripatetic habits, favorable to Meditation,
might help him rather than hinder. Externally, again, as he wanders to and
fro, there are, if for the longing heart little substance, yet for the
seeing eye sights enough in these so boundless Travels of his, granting
that the Satanic School was even partially kept down, what an incredible
knowledge of our Planet, and its Inhabitants and their Works, that is to
say, of all knowable things, might not Teufelsdrockh acquire!

"I have read in most Public Libraries," says he, "including those of
Constantinople and Samarcand: in most Colleges, except the Chinese
Mandarin ones, I have studied, or seen that there was no studying. Unknown
Languages have I oftenest gathered from their natural repertory, the Air,
by my organ of Hearing; Statistics, Geographics, Topographics came, through
the Eye, almost of their own accord. The ways of Man, how he seeks food,
and warmth, and protection for himself, in most regions, are ocularly known
to me. Like the great Hadrian, I meted out much of the terraqueous Globe
with a pair of Compasses that belonged to myself only.

"Of great Scenes why speak? Three summer days, I lingered reflecting, and
even composing (_dichtete_), by the Pine-chasms of Vaucluse; and in that
clear Lakelet moistened my bread. I have sat under the Palm-trees of
Tadmor; smoked a pipe among the ruins of Babylon. The great Wall of China
I have seen; and can testify that it is of gray brick, coped and covered
with granite, and shows only second-rate masonry.--Great Events, also, have
not I witnessed? Kings sweated down (_ausgemergelt_) into Berlin-and-Milan
Customhouse-Officers; the World well won, and the World well lost; oftener
than once a hundred thousand individuals shot (by each other) in one day.
All kindreds and peoples and nations dashed together, and shifted and
shovelled into heaps, that they might ferment there, and in time unite.
The birth-pangs of Democracy, wherewith convulsed Europe was groaning in
cries that reached Heaven, could not escape me.

"For great Men I have ever had the warmest predilection; and can perhaps
boast that few such in this era have wholly escaped me. Great Men are the
inspired (speaking and acting) Texts of that divine BOOK OF REVELATIONS,
whereof a Chapter is completed from epoch to epoch, and by some named
HISTORY; to which inspired Texts your numerous talented men, and your
innumerable untalented men, are the better or worse exegetic Commentaries,
and wagon-load of too-stupid, heretical or orthodox, weekly Sermons. For
my study, the inspired Texts themselves! Thus did not I, in very early
days, having disguised me as tavern-waiter, stand behind the field-chairs,
under that shady Tree at Treisnitz by the Jena Highway; waiting upon the
great Schiller and greater Goethe; and hearing what I have not forgotten.

--But at this point the Editor recalls his principle of caution, some time
ago laid down, and must suppress much. Let not the sacredness of
Laurelled, still more, of Crowned Heads, be tampered with. Should we, at a
future day, find circumstances altered, and the time come for Publication,
then may these glimpses into the privacy of the Illustrious be conceded;
which for the present were little better than treacherous, perhaps
traitorous Eavesdroppings. Of Lord Byron, therefore, of Pope Pius, Emperor
Tarakwang, and the "White Water-roses" (Chinese Carbonari) with their
mysteries, no notice here! Of Napoleon himself we shall only, glancing
from afar, remark that Teufelsdrockh's relation to him seems to have been
of very varied character. At first we find our poor Professor on the point
of being shot as a spy; then taken into private conversation, even pinched
on the ear, yet presented with no money; at last indignantly dismissed,
almost thrown out of doors, as an "Ideologist." "He himself," says the
Professor, "was among the completest Ideologists, at least Ideopraxists:
in the Idea (_in der Idee_) he lived, moved and fought. The man was a
Divine Missionary, though unconscious of it; and preached, through the
cannon's throat, that great doctrine, _La carriere ouverte aux talens_ (The
Tools to him that can handle them), which is our ultimate Political
Evangel, wherein alone can liberty lie. Madly enough he preached, it is
true, as Enthusiasts and first Missionaries are wont, with imperfect
utterance, amid much frothy rant; yet as articulately perhaps as the case
admitted. Or call him, if you will, an American Backwoodsman, who had to
fell unpenetrated forests, and battle with innumerable wolves, and did not
entirely forbear strong liquor, rioting, and even theft; whom,
notwithstanding, the peaceful Sower will follow, and, as he cuts the
boundless harvest, bless."

More legitimate and decisively authentic is Teufelsdrockh's appearance and
emergence (we know not well whence) in the solitude of the North Cape, on
that June Midnight. He has a "light-blue Spanish cloak" hanging round him,
as his "most commodious, principal, indeed sole upper-garment;" and stands
there, on the World-promontory, looking over the infinite Brine, like a
little blue Belfry (as we figure), now motionless indeed, yet ready, if
stirred, to ring quaintest changes.

"Silence as of death," writes he; "for Midnight, even in the Arctic
latitudes, has its character: nothing but the granite cliffs ruddy-tinged,
the peaceable gurgle of that slow-heaving Polar Ocean, over which in the
utmost North the great Sun hangs low and lazy, as if he too were
slumbering. Yet is his cloud-couch wrought of crimson and cloth-of-gold;
yet does his light stream over the mirror of waters, like a tremulous
fire-pillar, shooting downwards to the abyss, and hide itself under my
feet. In such moments, Solitude also is invaluable; for who would speak,
or be looked on, when behind him lies all Europe and Africa, fast asleep,
except the watchmen; and before him the silent Immensity, and Palace of the
Eternal, whereof our Sun is but a porch-lamp?

"Nevertheless, in this solemn moment comes a man, or monster, scrambling
from among the rock-hollows; and, shaggy, huge as the Hyperborean Bear,
hails me in Russian speech: most probably, therefore, a Russian Smuggler.
With courteous brevity, I signify my indifference to contraband trade, my
humane intentions, yet strong wish to be private. In vain: the monster,
counting doubtless on his superior stature, and minded to make sport for
himself, or perhaps profit, were it with murder, continues to advance; ever
assailing me with his importunate train-oil breath; and now has advanced,
till we stand both on the verge of the rock, the deep Sea rippling greedily
down below. What argument will avail? On the thick Hyperborean, cherubic
reasoning, seraphic eloquence were lost. Prepared for such extremity, I,
deftly enough, whisk aside one step; draw out, from my interior reservoirs,
a sufficient Birmingham Horse-pistol, and say, 'Be so obliging as retire,
Friend (_Er ziehe sich zuruck, Freund_), and with promptitude!' This logic
even the Hyperborean understands: fast enough, with apologetic,
petitionary growl, he sidles off; and, except for suicidal as well as
homicidal purposes, need not return.

"Such I hold to be the genuine use of Gunpowder: that it makes all men
alike tall. Nay, if thou be cooler, cleverer than I, if thou have more
_Mind_, though all but no _Body_ whatever, then canst thou kill me first,
and art the taller. Hereby, at last, is the Goliath powerless, and the
David resistless; savage Animalism is nothing, inventive Spiritualism is

"With respect to Duels, indeed, I have my own ideas. Few things, in this
so surprising world, strike me with more surprise. Two little visual
Spectra of men, hovering with insecure enough cohesion in the midst of the
UNFATHOMABLE, and to dissolve therein, at any rate, very soon,--make pause
at the distance of twelve paces asunder; whirl round; and, simultaneously
by the cunningest mechanism, explode one another into Dissolution; and
off-hand become Air, and Non-extant! Deuce on it (_verdammt_), the little
spitfires!--Nay, I think with old Hugo von Trimberg: 'God must needs laugh
outright, could such a thing be, to see his wondrous Manikins here below.'"

But amid these specialties, let us not forget the great generality, which
is our chief quest here: How prospered the inner man of Teufelsdrockh,
under so much outward shifting! Does Legion still lurk in him, though
repressed; or has he exorcised that Devil's Brood? We can answer that the
symptoms continue promising. Experience is the grand spiritual Doctor; and
with him Teufelsdrockh has now been long a patient, swallowing many a
bitter bolus. Unless our poor Friend belong to the numerous class of
Incurables, which seems not likely, some cure will doubtless be effected.
We should rather say that Legion, or the Satanic School, was now pretty
well extirpated and cast out, but next to nothing introduced in its room;
whereby the heart remains, for the while, in a quiet but no comfortable

"At length, after so much roasting," thus writes our Autobiographer, "I was
what you might name calcined. Pray only that it be not rather, as is the
more frequent issue, reduced to a _caput-mortuum_! But in any case, by
mere dint of practice, I had grown familiar with many things. Wretchedness
was still wretched; but I could now partly see through it, and despise it.
Which highest mortal, in this inane Existence, had I not found a
Shadow-hunter, or Shadow-hunted; and, when I looked through his brave
garnitures, miserable enough? Thy wishes have all been sniffed aside,
thought I: but what, had they even been all granted! Did not the Boy
Alexander weep because he had not two Planets to conquer; or a whole Solar
System; or after that, a whole Universe? _Ach Gott_, when I gazed into
these Stars, have they not looked down on me as if with pity, from their
serene spaces; like Eyes glistening with heavenly tears over the little lot
of man! Thousands of human generations, all as noisy as our own, have been
swallowed up of Time, and there remains no wreck of them any more; and
Arcturus and Orion and Sirius and the Pleiades are still shining in their
courses, clear and young, as when the Shepherd first noted them in the
plain of Shinar. Pshaw! what is this paltry little Dog-cage of an Earth;
what art thou that sittest whining there? Thou art still Nothing, Nobody:
true; but who, then, is Something, Somebody? For thee the Family of Man
has no use; it rejects thee; thou art wholly as a dissevered limb: so be
it; perhaps it is better so!"

Too-heavy-laden Teufelsdrockh! Yet surely his bands are loosening; one day
he will hurl the burden far from him, and bound forth free and with a
second youth.

"This," says our Professor, "was the CENTRE OF INDIFFERENCE I had now
reached; through which whoso travels from the Negative Pole to the Positive
must necessarily pass."


"Temptations in the Wilderness! " exclaims Teufelsdrockh, "Have we not all
to be tried with such? Not so easily can the old Adam, lodged in us by
birth, be dispossessed. Our Life is compassed round with Necessity; yet is
the meaning of Life itself no other than Freedom, than Voluntary Force:
thus have we a warfare; in the beginning, especially, a hard-fought battle.
For the God-given mandate, _Work thou in Well-doing_, lies mysteriously
written, in Promethean Prophetic Characters, in our hearts; and leaves us
no rest, night or day, till it be deciphered and obeyed; till it burn
forth, in our conduct, a visible, acted Gospel of Freedom. And as the
clay-given mandate, _Eat thou and be filled_, at the same time persuasively
proclaims itself through every nerve,--must not there be a confusion, a
contest, before the better Influence can become the upper?

"To me nothing seems more natural than that the Son of Man, when such
God-given mandate first prophetically stirs within him, and the Clay must
now be vanquished or vanquish,--should be carried of the spirit into grim
Solitudes, and there fronting the Tempter do grimmest battle with him;
defiantly setting him at naught till he yield and fly. Name it as we
choose: with or without visible Devil, whether in the natural Desert of
rocks and sands, or in the populous moral Desert of selfishness and
baseness,--to such Temptation are we all called. Unhappy if we are not!
Unhappy if we are but Half-men, in whom that divine handwriting has never
blazed forth, all-subduing, in true sun-splendor; but quivers dubiously
amid meaner lights: or smoulders, in dull pain, in darkness, under earthly
vapors!--Our Wilderness is the wide World in an Atheistic Century; our
Forty Days are long years of suffering and fasting: nevertheless, to these
also comes an end. Yes, to me also was given, if not Victory, yet the
consciousness of Battle, and the resolve to persevere therein while life or
faculty is left. To me also, entangled in the enchanted forests,
demon-peopled, doleful of sight and of sound, it was given, after weariest
wanderings, to work out my way into the higher sunlit slopes--of that
Mountain which has no summit, or whose summit is in Heaven only!"

He says elsewhere, under a less ambitious figure; as figures are, once for
all, natural to him: "Has not thy Life been that of most sufficient men
(_tuchtigen Manner_) thou hast known in this generation? An outflush of
foolish young Enthusiasm, like the first fallow-crop, wherein are as many
weeds as valuable herbs: this all parched away, under the Droughts of
practical and spiritual Unbelief, as Disappointment, in thought and act,
often-repeated gave rise to Doubt, and Doubt gradually settled into Denial!
If I have had a second-crop, and now see the perennial greensward, and sit
under umbrageous cedars, which defy all Drought (and Doubt); herein too, be
the Heavens praised, I am not without examples, and even exemplars."

So that, for Teufelsdrockh, also, there has been a "glorious revolution:"
these mad shadow-hunting and shadow-hunted Pilgrimings of his were but some
purifying "Temptation in the Wilderness," before his apostolic work (such
as it was) could begin; which Temptation is now happily over, and the Devil
once more worsted! Was "that high moment in the _Rue de l'Enfer_," then,
properly the turning-point of the battle; when the Fiend said, _Worship me,
or be torn in shreds_; and was answered valiantly with an _Apage
Satana_?--Singular Teufelsdrockh, would thou hadst told thy singular story
in plain words! But it is fruitless to look there, in those Paper-bags,
for such. Nothing but innuendoes, figurative crotchets: a typical Shadow,
fitfully wavering, prophetico-satiric; no clear logical Picture. "How
paint to the sensual eye," asks he once, "what passes in the Holy-of-Holies
of Man's Soul; in what words, known to these profane times, speak even
afar-off of the unspeakable?" We ask in turn: Why perplex these times,
profane as they are, with needless obscurity, by omission and by
commission? Not mystical only is our Professor, but whimsical; and
involves himself, now more than ever, in eye-bewildering _chiaroscuro_.
Successive glimpses, here faithfully imparted, our more gifted readers must
endeavor to combine for their own behoof.

He says: "The hot Harmattan wind had raged itself out; its howl went
silent within me; and the long-deafened soul could now hear. I paused in
my wild wanderings; and sat me down to wait, and consider; for it was as if
the hour of change drew nigh. I seemed to surrender, to renounce utterly,
and say: Fly, then, false shadows of Hope; I will chase you no more, I
will believe you no more. And ye too, haggard spectres of Fear, I care not
for you; ye too are all shadows and a lie. Let me rest here: for I am
way-weary and life-weary; I will rest here, were it but to die: to die or
to live is alike to me; alike insignificant."--And again: "Here, then, as
I lay in that CENTRE OF INDIFFERENCE; cast, doubtless by benignant upper
Influence, into a healing sleep, the heavy dreams rolled gradually away,
and I awoke to a new Heaven and a new Earth. The first preliminary moral
Act, Annihilation of Self (_Selbst-todtung_), had been happily
accomplished; and my mind's eyes were now unsealed, and its hands ungyved."

Might we not also conjecture that the following passage refers to his
Locality, during this same "healing sleep;" that his Pilgrim-staff lies
cast aside here, on "the high table-land;" and indeed that the repose is
already taking wholesome effect on him? If it were not that the tone, in
some parts, has more of riancy, even of levity, than we could have
expected! However, in Teufelsdrockh, there is always the strangest Dualism:
light dancing, with guitar-music, will be going on in the fore-court, while
by fits from within comes the faint whimpering of woe and wail. We
transcribe the piece entire.

"Beautiful it was to sit there, as in my skyey Tent, musing and meditating;
on the high table-land, in front of the Mountains; over me, as roof, the
azure Dome, and around me, for walls, four azure-flowing curtains,--namely,
of the Four azure Winds, on whose bottom-fringes also I have seen gilding.
And then to fancy the fair Castles that stood sheltered in these Mountain
hollows; with their green flower-lawns, and white dames and damosels,
lovely enough: or better still, the straw-roofed Cottages, wherein stood
many a Mother baking bread, with her children round her:--all hidden and
protectingly folded up in the valley-folds; yet there and alive, as sure as
if I beheld them. Or to see, as well as fancy, the nine Towns and
Villages, that lay round my mountain-seat, which, in still weather, were
wont to speak to me (by their steeple-bells) with metal tongue; and, in
almost all weather, proclaimed their vitality by repeated Smoke-clouds;
whereon, as on a culinary horologe, I might read the hour of the day. For
it was the smoke of cookery, as kind housewives at morning, midday,
eventide, were boiling their husbands' kettles; and ever a blue pillar rose
up into the air, successively or simultaneously, from each of the nine,
saying, as plainly as smoke could say: Such and such a meal is getting
ready here. Not uninteresting! For you have the whole Borough, with all
its love-makings and scandal-mongeries, contentions and contentments, as in
miniature, and could cover it all with your hat.--If, in my wide
Way-farings, I had learned to look into the business of the World in its
details, here perhaps was the place for combining it into general
propositions, and deducing inferences therefrom.

"Often also could I see the black Tempest marching in anger through the
Distance: round some Schreckhorn, as yet grim-blue, would the eddying
vapor gather, and there tumultuously eddy, and flow down like a mad witch's
hair; till, after a space, it vanished, and, in the clear sunbeam, your
Schreckhorn stood smiling grim-white, for the vapor had held snow. How
thou fermentest and elaboratest, in thy great fermenting-vat and laboratory
of an Atmosphere, of a World, O Nature!--Or what is Nature? Ha! why do I
not name thee GOD? Art not thou the 'Living Garment of God'? O Heavens, is
it, in very deed, HE, then, that ever speaks through thee; that lives and
loves in thee, that lives and loves in me?

"Fore-shadows, call them rather fore-splendors, of that Truth, and
Beginning of Truths, fell mysteriously over my soul. Sweeter than
Dayspring to the Shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah, like the mother's voice to
her little child that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown tumults; like
soft streamings of celestial music to my too-exasperated heart, came that
Evangel. The Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a charnel-house with
spectres; but godlike, and my Father's!

"With other eyes, too, could I now look upon my fellowman: with an
infinite Love, an infinite Pity. Poor, wandering, wayward man! Art thou
not tried, and beaten with stripes, even as I am? Ever, whether thou bear
the royal mantle or the beggar's gabardine, art thou not so weary, so
heavy-laden; and thy Bed of Rest is but a Grave. O my Brother, my Brother,
why cannot I shelter thee in my bosom, and wipe away all tears from thy
eyes!--Truly, the din of many-voiced Life, which, in this solitude, with
the mind's organ, I could hear, was no longer a maddening discord, but a
melting one; like inarticulate cries, and sobbings of a dumb creature,
which in the ear of Heaven are prayers. The poor Earth, with her poor
joys, was now my needy Mother, not my cruel Stepdame; Man, with his so mad
Wants and so mean Endeavors, had become the dearer to me; and even for his
sufferings and his sins, I now first named him Brother. Thus was I
standing in the porch of that '_Sanctuary of Sorrow_;' by strange, steep
ways had I too been guided thither; and ere long its sacred gates would
open, and the '_Divine Depth of Sorrow_' lie disclosed to me."

The Professor says, he here first got eye on the Knot that had been
strangling him, and straightway could unfasten it, and was free. "A vain
interminable controversy," writes he, "touching what is at present called
Origin of Evil, or some such thing, arises in every soul, since the
beginning of the world; and in every soul, that would pass from idle
Suffering into actual Endeavoring, must first be put an end to. The most,
in our time, have to go content with a simple, incomplete enough
Suppression of this controversy; to a few some Solution of it is
indispensable. In every new era, too, such Solution comes out in different
terms; and ever the Solution of the last era has become obsolete, and is
found unserviceable. For it is man's nature to change his Dialect from
century to century; he cannot help it though he would. The authentic
_Church-Catechism_ of our present century has not yet fallen into my hands:
meanwhile, for my own private behoof I attempt to elucidate the matter so.
Man's Unhappiness, as I construe, comes of his Greatness; it is because
there is an Infinite in him, which with all his cunning he cannot quite
bury under the Finite. Will the whole Finance Ministers and Upholsterers
and Confectioners of modern Europe undertake, in joint-stock company, to
make one Shoeblack HAPPY? They cannot accomplish it, above an hour or two:
for the Shoeblack also has a Soul quite other than his Stomach; and would
require, if you consider it, for his permanent satisfaction and saturation,
simply this allotment, no more, and no less: _God's infinite Universe
altogether to himself_, therein to enjoy infinitely, and fill every wish as
fast as it rose. Oceans of Hochheimer, a Throat like that of Ophiuchus:
speak not of them; to the infinite Shoeblack they are as nothing. No
sooner is your ocean filled, than he grumbles that it might have been of
better vintage. Try him with half of a Universe, of an Omnipotence, he
sets to quarrelling with the proprietor of the other half, and declares
himself the most maltreated of men.--Always there is a black spot in our
sunshine: it is even, as I said, the _Shadow of Ourselves_.

"But the whim we have of Happiness is somewhat thus. By certain
valuations, and averages, of our own striking, we come upon some sort of
average terrestrial lot; this we fancy belongs to us by nature, and of
indefeasible right. It is simple payment of our wages, of our deserts;
requires neither thanks nor complaint; only such _overplus_ as there may be
do we account Happiness; any _deficit_ again is Misery. Now consider that
we have the valuation of our own deserts ourselves, and what a fund of
Self-conceit there is in each of us,--do you wonder that the balance should
so often dip the wrong way, and many a Blockhead cry: See there, what a
payment; was ever worthy gentleman so used!--I tell thee, Blockhead, it all
comes of thy Vanity; of what thou _fanciest_ those same deserts of thine to
be. Fancy that thou deservest to be hanged (as is most likely), thou wilt
feel it happiness to be only shot: fancy that thou deservest to be hanged
in a hair-halter, it will be a luxury to die in hemp.

"So true is it, what I then said, that _the Fraction of Life can be
increased in value not so much by increasing your Numerator as by lessening
your Denominator_. Nay, unless my Algebra deceive me, _Unity_ itself
divided by _Zero_ will give _Infinity_. Make thy claim of wages a zero,
then; thou hast the world under thy feet. Well did the Wisest of our time
write: 'It is only with Renunciation (_Entsagen_) that Life, properly
speaking, can be said to begin.'

"I asked myself: What is this that, ever since earliest years, thou hast
been fretting and fuming, and lamenting and self-tormenting, on account of?
Say it in a word: is it not because thou art not HAPPY? Because the THOU
(sweet gentleman) is not sufficiently honored, nourished, soft-bedded, and
lovingly cared for? Foolish soul! What Act of Legislature was there that
_thou_ shouldst be Happy? A little while ago thou hadst no right to _be_
at all. What if thou wert born and predestined not to be Happy, but to be
Unhappy! Art thou nothing other than a Vulture, then, that fliest through
the Universe seeking after somewhat to _eat_; and shrieking dolefully
because carrion enough is not given thee? Close thy _Byron_; open thy

"_Es leuchtet mir ein_, I see a glimpse of it!" cries he elsewhere: "there
is in man a HIGHER than Love of Happiness: he can do without Happiness,
and instead thereof find Blessedness! Was it not to preach forth this same
HIGHER that sages and martyrs, the Poet and the Priest, in all times, have
spoken and suffered; bearing testimony, through life and through death, of
the Godlike that is in Man, and how in the Godlike only has he Strength and
Freedom? Which God-inspiredd Doctrine art thou also honored to be taught;
O Heavens! and broken with manifold merciful Afflictions, even till thou
become contrite and learn it! Oh, thank thy Destiny for these; thankfully
bear what yet remain: thou hadst need of them; the Self in thee needed to
be annihilated. By benignant fever-paroxysms is Life rooting out the
deep-seated chronic Disease, and triumphs over Death. On the roaring
billows of Time, thou art not engulfed, but borne aloft into the azure of
Eternity. Love not Pleasure; love God. This is the EVERLASTING YEA,
wherein all contradiction is solved: wherein whoso walks and works, it is
well with him."

And again: "Small is it that thou canst trample the Earth with its
injuries under thy feet, as old Greek Zeno trained thee: thou canst love
the Earth while it injures thee, and even because it injures thee; for this
a Greater than Zeno was needed, and he too was sent. Knowest thou that
'_Worship of Sorrow_'? The Temple thereof, founded some eighteen centuries
ago, now lies in ruins, overgrown with jungle, the habitation of doleful
creatures: nevertheless, venture forward; in a low crypt, arched out of
falling fragments, thou findest the Altar still there, and its sacred Lamp
perennially burning."

Without pretending to comment on which strange utterances, the Editor will
only remark, that there lies beside them much of a still more questionable
character; unsuited to the general apprehension; nay wherein he himself
does not see his way. Nebulous disquisitions on Religion, yet not without
bursts of splendor; on the "perennial continuance of Inspiration;" on
Prophecy; that there are "true Priests, as well as Baal-Priests, in our own
day:" with more of the like sort. We select some fractions, by way of
finish to this farrago.

"Cease, my much-respected Herr von Voltaire," thus apostrophizes the
Professor: "shut thy sweet voice; for the task appointed thee seems
finished. Sufficiently hast thou demonstrated this proposition,
considerable or otherwise: That the Mythus of the Christian Religion looks
not in the eighteenth century as it did in the eighth. Alas, were thy
six-and-thirty quartos, and the six-and-thirty thousand other quartos and
folios, and flying sheets or reams, printed before and since on the same
subject, all needed to convince us of so little! But what next? Wilt thou
help us to embody the divine Spirit of that Religion in a new Mythus, in a
new vehicle and vesture, that our Souls, otherwise too like perishing, may
live? What! thou hast no faculty in that kind? Only a torch for burning,
no hammer for building? Take our thanks, then, and--thyself away.

"Meanwhile what are antiquated Mythuses to me? Or is the God present, felt
in my own heart, a thing which Herr von Voltaire will dispute out of me; or
dispute into me? To the '_Worship of Sorrow_' ascribe what origin and
genesis thou pleasest, _has_ not that Worship originated, and been
generated; is it not _here_? Feel it in thy heart, and then say whether it
is of God! This is Belief; all else is Opinion,--for which latter whoso
will, let him worry and be worried."

"Neither," observes he elsewhere, "shall ye tear out one another's eyes,
struggling over 'Plenary Inspiration,' and such like: try rather to get a
little even Partial Inspiration, each of you for himself. One BIBLE I
know, of whose Plenary Inspiration doubt is not so much as possible; nay
with my own eyes I saw the God's-Hand writing it: thereof all other Bibles
are but Leaves,--say, in Picture-Writing to assist the weaker faculty."

Or, to give the wearied reader relief, and bring it to an end, let him take
the following perhaps more intelligible passage:--

"To me, in this our life," says the Professor, "which is an internecine
warfare with the Time-spirit, other warfare seems questionable. Hast thou
in any way a contention with thy brother, I advise thee, think well what
the meaning thereof is. If thou gauge it to the bottom, it is simply this:
'Fellow, see! thou art taking more than thy share of Happiness in the
world, something from my share: which, by the Heavens, thou shalt not; nay
I will fight thee rather.'--Alas, and the whole lot to be divided is such a
beggarly matter, truly a 'feast of shells,' for the substance has been
spilled out: not enough to quench one Appetite; and the collective human
species clutching at them!--Can we not, in all such cases, rather say:
'Take it, thou too-ravenous individual; take that pitiful additional
fraction of a share, which I reckoned mine, but which thou so wantest; take
it with a blessing: would to Heaven I had enough for thee!'--If Fichte's
_Wissenschaftslehre_ be, 'to a certain extent, Applied Christianity,'
surely to a still greater extent, so is this. We have here not a Whole
Duty of Man, yet a Half Duty, namely the Passive half: could we but do it,
as we can demonstrate it!

"But indeed Conviction, were it never so excellent, is worthless till it
convert itself into Conduct. Nay properly Conviction is not possible till
then; inasmuch as all Speculation is by nature endless, formless, a vortex
amid vortices, only by a felt indubitable certainty of Experience does it
find any centre to revolve round, and so fashion itself into a system.
Most true is it, as a wise man teaches us, that 'Doubt of any sort cannot
be removed except by Action.' On which ground, too, let him who gropes
painfully in darkness or uncertain light, and prays vehemently that the
dawn may ripen into day, lay this other precept well to heart, which to me
was of invaluable service: '_Do the Duty which lies nearest thee_,' which
thou knowest to be a Duty! Thy second Duty will already have become

"May we not say, however, that the hour of Spiritual Enfranchisement is
even this: When your Ideal World, wherein the whole man has been dimly
struggling and inexpressibly languishing to work, becomes revealed, and
thrown open; and you discover, with amazement enough, like the Lothario in
_Wilhelm Meister_, that your 'America is here or nowhere'? The Situation
that has not its Duty, its Ideal, was never yet occupied by man. Yes here,
in this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable Actual, wherein thou even now
standest, here or nowhere is thy Ideal: work it out therefrom; and
working, believe, live, be free. Fool! the Ideal is in thyself, the
impediment too is in thyself: thy Condition is but the stuff thou art to
shape that same Ideal out of: what matters whether such stuff be of this
sort or that, so the Form thou give it be heroic, be poetic? O thou that
pinest in the imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to the gods
for a kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth: the thing
thou seekest is already with thee, 'here or nowhere,' couldst thou only

"But it is with man's Soul as it was with Nature: the beginning of
Creation is--Light. Till the eye have vision, the whole members are in
bonds. Divine moment, when over the tempest-tost Soul, as once over the
wild-weltering Chaos, it is spoken: Let there be Light! Ever to the
greatest that has felt such moment, is it not miraculous and
God-announcing; even as, under simpler figures, to the simplest and least.
The mad primeval Discord is hushed; the rudely jumbled conflicting elements
bind themselves into separate Firmaments: deep silent rock-foundations are
built beneath; and the skyey vault with its everlasting Luminaries above:
instead of a dark wasteful Chaos, we have a blooming, fertile,
heaven-encompassed World.

"I too could now say to myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or even
Worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal
fraction of a Product, produce it, in God's name! 'Tis the utmost thou
hast in thee: out with it, then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to
do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day; for the
Night cometh, wherein no man can work."


Thus have we, as closely and perhaps satisfactorily as, in such
circumstances, might be, followed Teufelsdrockh, through the various
successive states and stages of Growth, Entanglement, Unbelief, and almost
Reprobation, into a certain clearer state of what he himself seems to
consider as Conversion. "Blame not the word," says he; "rejoice rather
that such a word, signifying such a thing, has come to light in our modern
Era, though hidden from the wisest Ancients. The Old World knew nothing of
Conversion; instead of an _Ecce Homo_, they had only some _Choice of
Hercules_. It was a new-attained progress in the Moral Development of man:
hereby has the Highest come home to the bosoms of the most Limited; what to
Plato was but a hallucination, and to Socrates a chimera, is now clear and
certain to your Zinzendorfs, your Wesleys, and the poorest of their
Pietists and Methodists."

It is here, then, that the spiritual majority of Teufelsdrockh commences:
we are henceforth to see him "work in well-doing," with the spirit and
clear aims of a Man. He has discovered that the Ideal Workshop he so
panted for is even this same Actual ill-furnished Workshop he has so long
been stumbling in. He can say to himself: "Tools? Thou hast no Tools?
Why, there is not a Man, or a Thing, now alive but has tools. The basest
of created animalcules, the Spider itself, has a spinning-jenny, and
warping-mill, and power-loom within its head: the stupidest of Oysters has
a Papin's-Digester, with stone-and-lime house to hold it in: every being
that can live can do something: this let him _do_.-- Tools? Hast thou not
a Brain, furnished, furnishable with some glimmerings of Light; and three
fingers to hold a Pen withal? Never since Aaron's Rod went out of
practice, or even before it, was there such a wonder-working Tool: greater
than all recorded miracles have been performed by Pens. For strangely in
this so solid-seeming World, which nevertheless is in continual restless
flux, it is appointed that _Sound_, to appearance the most fleeting, should
be the most continuing of all things. The WORD is well said to be
omnipotent in this world; man, thereby divine, can create as by a _Fiat_.
Awake, arise! Speak forth what is in thee; what God has given thee, what
the Devil shall not take away. Higher task than that of Priesthood was
allotted to no man: wert thou but the meanest in that sacred Hierarchy, is
it not honor enough therein to spend and be spent?

"By this Art, which whoso will may sacrilegiously degrade into a
handicraft," adds Teufelsdrockh, "have I thenceforth abidden. Writings of
mine, not indeed known as mine (for what am I?), have fallen, perhaps not
altogether void, into the mighty seedfield of Opinion; fruits of my unseen
sowing gratifyingly meet me here and there. I thank the Heavens that I
have now found my Calling; wherein, with or without perceptible result, I
am minded diligently to persevere.

"Nay how knowest thou," cries he, "but this and the other pregnant Device,
now grown to be a world-renowned far-working Institution; like a grain of
right mustard-seed once cast into the right soil, and now stretching out
strong boughs to the four winds, for the birds of the air to lodge in,--may
have been properly my doing? Some one's doing, it without doubt was; from
some Idea, in some single Head, it did first of all take beginning: why
not from some Idea in mine?" Does Teufelsdrockh, here glance at that
Gesellschaft_)," of which so many ambiguous notices glide spectra-like
through these inexpressible Paper-bags? "An Institution," hints he, "not
unsuitable to the wants of the time; as indeed such sudden extension
proves: for already can the Society number, among its office-bearers or
corresponding members, the highest Names, if not the highest Persons, in
Germany, England, France; and contributions, both of money and of
meditation pour in from all quarters; to, if possible, enlist the remaining
Integrity of the world, and, defensively and with forethought, marshal it
round this Palladium." Does Teufelsdrockh mean, then, to give himself out
as the originator of that so notable _Eigenthums-conservirende_
("Owndom-conserving") _Gesellschaft_; and if so, what, in the Devil's name,
is it? He again hints: "At a time when the divine Commandment, _Thou
shalt not steal_, wherein truly, if well understood, is comprised the whole
Hebrew Decalogue, with Solon's and Lycurgrus's Constitutions, Justinian's
Pandects, the Code Napoleon, and all Codes, Catechisms, Divinities,
Moralities whatsoever, that man has hitherto devised (and enforced with
Altar-fire and Gallows-ropes) for his social guidance: at a time, I say,
when this divine Commandment has all but faded away from the general
remembrance; and, with little disguise, a new opposite Commandment, _Thou
shalt steal_, is everywhere promulgated,--it perhaps behooved, in this
universal dotage and deliration, the sound portion of mankind to bestir
themselves and rally. When the widest and wildest violations of that
divine right of Property, the only divine right now extant or conceivable,
are sanctioned and recommended by a vicious Press, and the world has lived
to hear it asserted that _we have no Property in our very Bodies, but only
an accidental Possession and Life-rent_, what is the issue to be looked
for? Hangmen and Catchpoles may, by their noose-gins and baited
fall-traps, keep down the smaller sort of vermin; but what, except perhaps
some such Universal Association, can protect us against whole
meat-devouring and man-devouring hosts of Boa-constrictors. If, therefore,
the more sequestered Thinker have wondered, in his privacy, from what hand
that perhaps not ill-written _Program_ in the Public Journals, with its
high _Prize-Questions_ and so liberal _Prizes_, could have proceeded,--let
him now cease such wonder; and, with undivided faculty, betake himself to
the _Concurrenz_ (Competition)."

We ask: Has this same "perhaps not ill-written _Program_," or any other
authentic Transaction of that Property-conserving Society, fallen under the
eye of the British Reader, in any Journal foreign or domestic? If so, what
are those _Prize-Questions_; what are the terms of Competition, and when
and where? No printed Newspaper-leaf, no farther light of any sort, to be
met with in these Paper-bags! Or is the whole business one other of those
whimsicalities and perverse inexplicabilities, whereby Herr Teufelsdrockh,
meaning much or nothing, is pleased so often to play fast-and-loose with

Here, indeed, at length, must the Editor give utterance to a painful
suspicion, which, through late Chapters, has begun to haunt him; paralyzing
any little enthusiasm that might still have rendered his thorny
Biographical task a labor of love. It is a suspicion grounded perhaps on
trifles, yet confirmed almost into certainty by the more and more
discernible humoristico-satirical tendency of Teufelsdrockh, in whom
underground humors and intricate sardonic rogueries, wheel within wheel,
defy all reckoning: a suspicion, in one word, that these Autobiographical
Documents are partly a mystification! What if many a so-called Fact were
little better than a Fiction; if here we had no direct Camera-obscura
Picture of the Professor's History; but only some more or less fantastic
Adumbration, symbolically, perhaps significantly enough, shadowing forth
the same! Our theory begins to be that, in receiving as literally
authentic what was but hieroglyphically so, Hofrath Heuschrecke, whom in
that case we scruple not to name Hofrath Nose-of-Wax, was made a fool of,
and set adrift to make fools of others. Could it be expected, indeed, that
a man so known for impenetrable reticence as Teufelsdrockh would all at
once frankly unlock his private citadel to an English Editor and a German
Hofrath; and not rather deceptively _in_lock both Editor and Hofrath in the
labyrinthic tortuosities and covered-ways of said citadel (having enticed
them thither), to see, in his half-devilish way, how the fools would look?

Of one fool, however, the Herr Professor will perhaps find himself short.
On a small slip, formerly thrown aside as blank, the ink being all but
invisible, we lately noticed, and with effort decipher, the following:
"What are your historical Facts; still more your biographical? Wilt thou
know a Man, above all a Mankind, by stringing together bead-rolls of what
thou namest Facts? The Man is the spirit he worked in; not what he did,
but what he became. Facts are engraved Hierograms, for which the fewest
have the key. And then how your Blockhead (_Dummkopf_) studies not their
Meaning; but simply whether they are well or ill cut, what he calls Moral
or Immoral! Still worse is it with your Bungler (_Pfuscher_): such I have
seen reading some Rousseau, with pretences of interpretation; and mistaking
the ill-cut Serpent-of-Eternity for a common poisonous reptile." Was the
Professor apprehensive lest an Editor, selected as the present boasts
himself, might mistake the Teufelsdrockh Serpent-of-Eternity in like
manner? For which reason it was to be altered, not without underhand
satire, into a plainer Symbol? Or is this merely one of his half-sophisms,
half-truisms, which if he can but set on the back of a Figure, he cares not
whither it gallop? We say not with certainty; and indeed, so strange is
the Professor, can never say. If our suspicion be wholly unfounded, let
his own questionable ways, not our necessary circumspectness bear the

But be this as it will, the somewhat exasperated and indeed exhausted
Editor determines here to shut these Paper-bags for the present. Let it
suffice that we know of Teufelsdrockh, so far, if "not what he did, yet
what he became:" the rather, as his character has now taken its ultimate
bent, and no new revolution, of importance, is to be looked for. The
imprisoned Chrysalis is now a winged Psyche: and such, wheresoever be its
flight, it will continue. To trace by what complex gyrations (flights or
involuntary waftings) through the mere external Life-element,
Teufelsdrockh, reaches his University Professorship, and the Psyche clothes
herself in civic Titles, without altering her now fixed nature,--would be
comparatively an unproductive task, were we even unsuspicious of its being,
for us at least, a false and impossible one. His outward Biography,
therefore, which, at the Blumine Lover's-Leap, we saw churned utterly into
spray-vapor, may hover in that condition, for aught that concerns us here.
Enough that by survey of certain "pools and plashes," we have ascertained
its general direction; do we not already know that, by one way and other,
it _has_ long since rained down again into a stream; and even now, at
Weissnichtwo, flows deep and still, fraught with the _Philosophy of
Clothes_, and visible to whoso will cast eye thereon? Over much invaluable
matter, that lies scattered, like jewels among quarry-rubbish, in those
Paper-catacombs, we may have occasion to glance back, and somewhat will
demand insertion at the right place: meanwhile be our tiresome diggings
therein suspended.

If now, before reopening the great _Clothes-Volume_, we ask what our degree
of progress, during these Ten Chapters, has been, towards right
understanding of the _Clothes-Philosophy_, let not our discouragement
become total. To speak in that old figure of the Hell-gate Bridge over
Chaos, a few flying pontoons have perhaps been added, though as yet they
drift straggling on the Flood; how far they will reach, when once the
chains are straightened and fastened, can, at present, only be matter of

So much we already calculate: Through many a little loophole, we have had
glimpses into the internal world of Teufelsdrockh; his strange mystic,
almost magic Diagram of the Universe, and how it was gradually drawn, is
not henceforth altogether dark to us. Those mysterious ideas on TIME,
which merit consideration, and are not wholly unintelligible with such, may
by and by prove significant. Still more may his somewhat peculiar view of
Nature, the decisive Oneness he ascribes to Nature. How all Nature and
Life are but one _Garment_, a "Living Garment," woven and ever a-weaving in
the "Loom of Time; " is not here, indeed, the outline of a whole
_Clothes-Philosophy_; at least the arena it is to work in? Remark, too,
that the Character of the Man, nowise without meaning in such a matter,
becomes less enigmatic: amid so much tumultuous obscurity, almost like
diluted madness, do not a certain indomitable Defiance and yet a boundless
Reverence seem to loom forth, as the two mountain-summits, on whose
rock-strata all the rest were based and built?

Nay further, may we not say that Teufelsdrockh's Biography, allowing it
even, as suspected, only a hieroglyphical truth, exhibits a man, as it were
preappointed for Clothes-Philosophy? To look through the Shows of things
into Things themselves he is led and compelled. The "Passivity" given him
by birth is fostered by all turns of his fortune. Everywhere cast out,
like oil out of water, from mingling in any Employment, in any public
Communion, he has no portion but Solitude, and a life of Meditation. The
whole energy of his existence is directed, through long years, on one task:
that of enduring pain, if he cannot cure it. Thus everywhere do the Shows
of things oppress him, withstand him, threaten him with fearfullest
destruction: only by victoriously penetrating into Things themselves can
he find peace and a stronghold. But is not this same looking through the
Shows, or Vestures, into the Things, even the first preliminary to a
_Philosophy of Clothes_? Do we not, in all this, discern some beckonings
towards the true higher purport of such a Philosophy; and what shape it
must assume with such a man, in such an era?

Perhaps in entering on Book Third, the courteous Reader is not utterly
without guess whither he is bound: nor, let us hope, for all the fantastic
Dream-Grottos through which, as is our lot with Teufelsdrockh, he must
wander, will there be wanting between whiles some twinkling of a steady
Polar Star.



As a wonder-loving and wonder-seeking man, Teufelsdrockh, from an early
part of this Clothes-Volume, has more and more exhibited himself. Striking
it was, amid all his perverse cloudiness, with what force of vision and of
heart he pierced into the mystery of the World; recognizing in the highest
sensible phenomena, so far as Sense went, only fresh or faded Raiment; yet
ever, under this, a celestial Essence thereby rendered visible: and while,
on the one hand, he trod the old rags of Matter, with their tinsels, into
the mire, he on the other everywhere exalted Spirit above all earthly
principalities and powers, and worshipped it, though under the meanest
shapes, with a true Platonic mysticism. What the man ultimately purposed
by thus casting his Greek-fire into the general Wardrobe of the Universe;
what such, more or less complete, rending and burning of Garments
throughout the whole compass of Civilized Life and Speculation, should lead
to; the rather as he was no Adamite, in any sense, and could not, like
Rousseau, recommend either bodily or intellectual Nudity, and a return to
the savage state: all this our readers are now bent to discover; this is,
in fact, properly the gist and purport of Professor Teufelsdrockh's
Philosophy of Clothes.

Be it remembered, however, that such purport is here not so much evolved,
as detected to lie ready for evolving. We are to guide our British Friends
into the new Gold-country, and show them the mines; nowise to dig out and
exhaust its wealth, which indeed remains for all time inexhaustible. Once
there, let each dig for his own behoof, and enrich himself.

Neither, in so capricious inexpressible a Work as this of the Professor's,
can our course now more than formerly be straightforward, step by step, but
at best leap by leap. Significant Indications stand out here and there;
which for the critical eye, that looks both widely and narrowly, shape
themselves into some ground-scheme of a Whole: to select these with
judgment, so that a leap from one to the other be possible, and (in our old
figure) by chaining them together, a passable Bridge be effected: this, as
heretofore, continues our only method. Among such light-spots, the
following, floating in much wild matter about _Perfectibility_, has seemed
worth clutching at:--

"Perhaps the most remarkable incident in Modern History," says
Teufelsdrockh, "is not the Diet of Worms, still less the Battle of
Austerlitz, Waterloo, Peterloo, or any other Battle; but an incident passed
carelessly over by most Historians, and treated with some degree of
ridicule by others: namely, George Fox's making to himself a suit of
Leather. This man, the first of the Quakers, and by trade a Shoemaker, was
one of those, to whom, under ruder or purer form, the Divine Idea of the
Universe is pleased to manifest itself; and, across all the hulls of
Ignorance and earthly Degradation, shine through, in unspeakable Awfulness,
unspeakable Beauty, on their souls: who therefore are rightly accounted
Prophets, God-possessed; or even Gods, as in some periods it has chanced.
Sitting in his stall; working on tanned hides, amid pincers, paste-horns,
rosin, swine-bristles, and a nameless flood of rubbish, this youth had,
nevertheless, a Living Spirit belonging to him; also an antique Inspired
Volume, through which, as through a window, it could look upwards, and
discern its celestial Home. The task of a daily pair of shoes, coupled
even with some prospect of victuals, and an honorable Mastership in
Cordwainery, and perhaps the post of Thirdborough in his hundred, as the
crown of long faithful sewing,--was nowise satisfaction enough to such a
mind: but ever amid the boring and hammering came tones from that far
country, came Splendors and Terrors; for this poor Cordwainer, as we said,
was a Man; and the Temple of Immensity, wherein as Man he had been sent to
minister, was full of holy mystery to him.

"The Clergy of the neighborhood, the ordained Watchers and Interpreters of
that same holy mystery, listened with un-affected tedium to his
consultations, and advised him, as the solution of such doubts, to 'drink
beer, and dance with the girls.' Blind leaders of the blind! For what end
were their tithes levied and eaten; for what were their shovel-hats scooped
out, and their surplices and cassock-aprons girt on; and such a
church-repairing, and chaffering, and organing, and other racketing, held
over that spot of God's Earth,--if Man were but a Patent Digester, and the
Belly with its adjuncts the grand Reality? Fox turned from them, with
tears and a sacred scorn, back to his Leather-parings and his Bible.
Mountains of encumbrance, higher than AEtna, had been heaped over that
Spirit: but it was a Spirit, and would not lie buried there. Through long
days and nights of silent agony, it struggled and wrestled, with a man's
force, to be free: how its prison-mountains heaved and swayed
tumultuously, as the giant spirit shook them to this hand and that, and
emerged into the light of Heaven! That Leicester shoe-shop, had men known
it, was a holier place than any Vatican or Loretto-shrine.--'So bandaged,
and hampered, and hemmed in,' groaned he, 'with thousand requisitions,
obligations, straps, tatters, and tagrags, I can neither see nor move: not
my own am I, but the World's; and Time flies fast, and Heaven is high, and
Hell is deep: Man! bethink thee, if thou hast power of Thought! Why not;
what binds me here? Want, want!--Ha, of what? Will all the shoe-wages
under the Moon ferry me across into that far Land of Light? Only
Meditation can, and devout Prayer to God. I will to the woods: the hollow
of a tree will lodge me, wild berries feed me; and for Clothes, cannot I
stitch myself one perennial suit of Leather!'

"Historical Oil-painting," continues Teufelsdrockh, "is one of the Arts I
never practiced; therefore shall I not decide whether this subject were
easy of execution on the canvas. Yet often has it seemed to me as if such
first outflashing of man's Freewill, to lighten, more and more into Day,
the Chaotic Night that threatened to engulf him in its hindrances and its
horrors, were properly the only grandeur there is in History. Let some
living Angelo or Rosa, with seeing eye and understanding heart, picture
George Fox on that morning, when he spreads out his cutting-board for the
last time, and cuts cowhides by unwonted patterns, and stitches them
together into one continuous all-including Case, the farewell service of
his awl! Stitch away, thou noble Fox: every prick of that little
instrument is pricking into the heart of Slavery, and World-worship, and
the Mammon-god. Thy elbows jerk, as in strong swimmer-strokes, and every
stroke is bearing thee across the Prison-ditch, within which Vanity holds
her Workhouse and Ragfair, into lands of true Liberty; were the work done,
there is in broad Europe one Free Man, and thou art he!

"Thus from the lowest depth there is a path to the loftiest height; and for
the Poor also a Gospel has been published. Surely if, as D'Alembert
asserts, my illustrious namesake, Diogenes, was the greatest man of
Antiquity, only that he wanted Decency, then by stronger reason is George
Fox the greatest of the Moderns, and greater than Diogenes himself: for he
too stands on the adamantine basis of his Manhood, casting aside all props
and shoars; yet not, in half-savage Pride, undervaluing the Earth; valuing
it rather, as a place to yield him warmth and food, he looks Heavenward
from his Earth, and dwells in an element of Mercy and Worship, with a still
Strength, such as the Cynic's Tub did nowise witness. Great, truly, was
that Tub; a temple from which man's dignity and divinity was scornfully
preached abroad: but greater is the Leather Hull, for the same sermon was
preached there, and not in Scorn but in Love."

George Fox's "perennial suit," with all that it held, has been worn quite
into ashes for nigh two centuries: why, in a discussion on the
_Perfectibility of Society_, reproduce it now? Not out of blind sectarian
partisanship: Teufelsdrockh, himself is no Quaker; with all his pacific
tendencies, did not we see him, in that scene at the North Cape, with the
Archangel Smuggler, exhibit fire-arms?

For us, aware of his deep Sansculottism, there is more meant in this
passage than meets the ear. At the same time, who can avoid smiling at the
earnestness and Boeotian simplicity (if indeed there be not an underhand
satire in it), with which that "Incident" is here brought forward; and, in
the Professor's ambiguous way, as clearly perhaps as he durst in
Weissnichtwo, recommended to imitation! Does Teufelsdrockh anticipate
that, in this age of refinement, any considerable class of the community,
by way of testifying against the "Mammon-god," and escaping from what he
calls "Vanity's Workhouse and Ragfair," where doubtless some of them are
toiled and whipped and hoodwinked sufficiently,--will sheathe themselves in
close-fitting cases of Leather? The idea is ridiculous in the extreme.
Will Majesty lay aside its robes of state, and Beauty its frills and
train-gowns, for a second skin of tanned hide? By which change
Huddersfield and Manchester, and Coventry and Paisley, and the
Fancy-Bazaar, were reduced to hungry solitudes; and only Day and Martin
could profit. For neither would Teufelsdrockh's mad daydream, here as we
presume covertly intended, of levelling Society (_levelling_ it indeed with
a vengeance, into one huge drowned marsh!), and so attaining the political
effects of Nudity without its frigorific or other consequences,--be thereby
realized. Would not the rich man purchase a waterproof suit of Russia
Leather; and the high-born Belle step forth in red or azure morocco, lined
with shamoy: the black cowhide being left to the Drudges and Gibeonites of
the world; and so all the old Distinctions be re-established?

Or has the Professor his own deeper intention; and laughs in his sleeve at
our strictures and glosses, which indeed are but a part thereof?


Not less questionable is his Chapter on _Church-Clothes_, which has the
farther distinction of being the shortest in the Volume. We here translate
it entire:--

"By Church-Clothes, it need not be premised that I mean infinitely more
than Cassocks and Surplices; and do not at all mean the mere haberdasher
Sunday Clothes that men go to Church in. Far from it! Church-Clothes are,
in our vocabulary, the Forms, the _Vestures_, under which men have at
various periods embodied and represented for themselves the Religious
Principle; that is to say, invested the Divine Idea of the World with a
sensible and practically active Body, so that it might dwell among them as
a living and life-giving WORD.

"These are unspeakably the most important of all the vestures and
garnitures of Human Existence. They are first spun and woven, I may say,
by that wonder of wonders, SOCIETY; for it is still only when 'two or three
are gathered together,' that Religion, spiritually existent, and indeed
indestructible, however latent, in each, first outwardly manifests itself
(as with 'cloven tongues of fire'), and seeks to be embodied in a visible
Communion and Church Militant. Mystical, more than magical, is that
Communing of Soul with Soul, both looking heavenward: here properly Soul
first speaks with Soul; for only in looking heavenward, take it in what
sense you may, not in looking earthward, does what we can call Union,
mutual Love, Society, begin to be possible. How true is that of Novalis:
'It is certain, my Belief gains quite _infinitely_ the moment I can
convince another mind thereof'! Gaze thou in the face of thy Brother, in
those eyes where plays the lambent fire of Kindness, or in those where
rages the lurid conflagration of Anger; feel how thy own so quiet Soul is
straightway involuntarily kindled with the like, and ye blaze and
reverberate on each other, till it is all one limitless confluent flame (of
embracing Love, or of deadly-grappling Hate); and then say what miraculous
virtue goes out of man into man. But if so, through all the thick-plied
hulls of our Earthly Life; how much more when it is of the Divine Life we
speak, and inmost ME is, as it were, brought into contact with inmost ME!

"Thus was it that I said, the Church Clothes are first spun and woven by
Society; outward Religion originates by Society, Society becomes possible
by Religion. Nay, perhaps, every conceivable Society, past and present,
may well be figured as properly and wholly a Church, in one or other of
these three predicaments: an audibly preaching and prophesying Church,
which is the best; second, a Church that struggles to preach and prophesy,
but cannot as yet, till its Pentecost come; and third and worst, a Church
gone dumb with old age, or which only mumbles delirium prior to
dissolution. Whoso fancies that by Church is here meant Chapter-houses and
Cathedrals, or by preaching and prophesying, mere speech and chanting, let
him," says the oracular Professor, "read on, light of heart (_getrosten

"But with regard to your Church proper, and the Church-Clothes specially
recognized as Church-Clothes, I remark, fearlessly enough, that without
such Vestures and sacred Tissues Society has not existed, and will not
exist. For if Government is, so to speak, the outward SKIN of the Body
Politic, holding the whole together and protecting it; and all your
Craft-Guilds, and Associations for Industry, of hand or of head, are the
Fleshly Clothes, the muscular and osseous Tissues (lying _under_ such
SKIN), whereby Society stands and works;--then is Religion the inmost
Pericardial and Nervous Tissue, which ministers Life and warm Circulation
to the whole. Without which Pericardial Tissue the Bones and Muscles (of
Industry) were inert, or animated only by a Galvanic vitality; the SKIN
would become a shrivelled pelt, or fast-rotting rawhide; and Society itself
a dead carcass,--deserving to be buried. Men were no longer Social, but
Gregarious; which latter state also could not continue, but must gradually
issue in universal selfish discord, hatred, savage isolation, and
dispersion;--whereby, as we might continue to say, the very dust and dead
body of Society would have evaporated and become abolished. Such, and so
all-important, all-sustaining, are the Church-Clothes to civilized or even
to rational men.

"Meanwhile, in our era of the World, those same Church-Clothes have gone
sorrowfully out-at-elbows; nay, far worse, many of them have become mere
hollow Shapes, or Masks, under which no living Figure or Spirit any longer
dwells; but only spiders and unclean beetles, in horrid accumulation, drive
their trade; and the mask still glares on you with its glass eyes, in
ghastly affectation of Life,--some generation-and-half after Religion has
quite withdrawn from it, and in unnoticed nooks is weaving for herself new
Vestures, wherewith to reappear, and bless us, or our sons or grandsons.
As a Priest, or Interpreter of the Holy, is the noblest and highest of all
men, so is a Sham-priest (_Schein-priester_) the falsest and basest;
neither is it doubtful that his Canonicals, were they Popes' Tiaras, will
one day be torn from him, to make bandages for the wounds of mankind; or
even to burn into tinder, for general scientific or culinary purposes.

"All which, as out of place here, falls to be handled in my Second Volume,
_On the Palingenesia, or Newbirth of Society_; which volume, as treating
practically of the Wear, Destruction, and Retexture of Spiritual Tissues,
or Garments, forms, properly speaking, the Transcendental or ultimate
Portion of this my work on _Clothes_, and is already in a state of

And herewith, no farther exposition, note, or commentary being added, does
Teufelsdrockh, and must his Editor now, terminate the singular chapter on


Probably it will elucidate the drift of these foregoing obscure utterances,
if we here insert somewhat of our Professor's speculations on _Symbols_.
To state his whole doctrine, indeed, were beyond our compass: nowhere is
he more mysterious, impalpable, than in this of "Fantasy being the organ of
the Godlike;" and how "Man thereby, though based, to all seeming, on the
small Visible, does nevertheless extend down into the infinite deeps of the
Invisible, of which Invisible, indeed, his Life is properly the bodying
forth." Let us, omitting these high transcendental aspects of the matter,
study to glean (whether from the Paper-bags or the Printed Volume) what
little seems logical and practical, and cunningly arrange it into such
degree of coherence as it will assume. By way of proem, take the following
not injudicious remarks:--

"The benignant efficacies of Concealment," cries our Professor, "who shall
speak or sing? SILENCE and SECRECY! Altars might still be raised to them
(were this an altar-building time) for universal worship. Silence is the
element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length
they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which
they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the
considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of
these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting. Nay,
in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but _hold thy tongue for one
day_: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what
wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when
intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman
defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and
suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great,
but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: _Sprechen ist
silbern, Schweigen ist golden_ (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or
as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.

"Bees will not work except in darkness; Thought will not work except in
Silence: neither will Virtue work except in Secrecy. Let not thy left
hand know what thy right hand doeth! Neither shalt thou prate even to thy
own heart of 'those secrets known to all.' Is not Shame (_Schaam_) the soil
of all Virtue, of all good manners and good morals? Like other plants,
Virtue will not grow unless its root be hidden, buried from the eye of the
sun. Let the sun shine on it, nay do but look at it privily thyself, the
root withers, and no flower will glad thee. O my Friends, when we view the
fair clustering flowers that overwreathe, for example, the Marriage-bower,
and encircle man's life with the fragrance and hues of Heaven, what hand
will not smite the foul plunderer that grubs them up by the roots, and,
with grinning, grunting satisfaction, shows us the dung they flourish in!
Men speak much of the Printing Press with its Newspapers: _du Himmel_!
what are these to Clothes and the Tailor's Goose?

"Of kin to the so incalculable influences of Concealment, and connected
with still greater things, is the wondrous agency of _Symbols_. In a
Symbol there is concealment and yet revelation; here therefore, by Silence
and by Speech acting together, comes a double significance. And if both
the Speech be itself high, and the Silence fit and noble, how expressive
will their union be! Thus in many a painted Device, or simple Seal-emblem,
the commonest Truth stands out to us proclaimed with quite new emphasis.

"For it is here that Fantasy with her mystic wonderland plays into the
small prose domain of Sense, and becomes incorporated therewith. In the
Symbol proper, what we can call a Symbol, there is ever, more or less
distinctly and directly, some embodiment and revelation of the Infinite;
the Infinite is made to blend itself with the Finite, to stand visible, and
as it were, attainable there. By Symbols, accordingly, is man guided and
commanded, made happy, made wretched: He everywhere finds himself
encompassed with Symbols, recognized as such or not recognized: the
Universe is but one vast Symbol of God; nay if thou wilt have it, what is
man himself but a Symbol of God; is not all that he does symbolical; a
revelation to Sense of the mystic god-given force that is in him; a 'Gospel
of Freedom,' which he, the 'Messias of Nature,' preaches, as he can, by act
and word? Not a Hut he builds but is the visible embodiment of a Thought;
but bears visible record of invisible things; but is, in the transcendental
sense, symbolical as well as real."

"Man," says the Professor elsewhere, in quite antipodal contrast with these
high-soaring delineations, which we have here cut short on the verge of the
inane, "Man is by birth somewhat of an owl. Perhaps, too, of all the
owleries that ever possessed him, the most owlish, if we consider it, is
that of your actually existing Motive-Millwrights. Fantastic tricks enough
man has played, in his time; has fancied himself to be most things, down
even to an animated heap of Glass: but to fancy himself a dead
Iron-Balance for weighing Pains and Pleasures on, was reserved for this his
latter era. There stands he, his Universe one huge Manger, filled with hay
and thistles to be weighed against each other; and looks long-eared enough.
Alas, poor devil! spectres are appointed to haunt him: one age he is
hag-ridden, bewitched; the next, priest-ridden, befooled; in all ages,
bedevilled. And now the Genius of Mechanism smothers him worse than any
Nightmare did; till the Soul is nigh choked out of him, and only a kind of
Digestive, Mechanic life remains. In Earth and in Heaven he can see
nothing but Mechanism; has fear for nothing else, hope in nothing else:
the world would indeed grind him to pieces; but cannot he fathom the
Doctrine of Motives, and cunningly compute these, and mechanize them to
grind the other way?

"Were he not, as has been said, purblinded by enchantment, you had but to
bid him open his eyes and look. In which country, in which time, was it
hitherto that man's history, or the history of any man, went on by
calculated or calculable 'Motives'? What make ye of your Christianities,
and Chivalries, and Reformations, and Marseillaise Hymns, and Reigns of
Terror? Nay, has not perhaps the Motive-grinder himself been in _Love_?
Did he never stand so much as a contested Election? Leave him to Time, and
the medicating virtue of Nature."

"Yes, Friends," elsewhere observes the Professor, "not our Logical,
Mensurative faculty, but our Imaginative one is King over us; I might say,
Priest and Prophet to lead us heavenward; or Magician and Wizard to lead us
hellward. Nay, even for the basest Sensualist, what is Sense but the
implement of Fantasy; the vessel it drinks out of? Ever in the dullest
existence there is a sheen either of Inspiration or of Madness (thou partly
hast it in thy choice, which of the two), that gleams in from the
circumambient Eternity, and colors with its own hues our little islet of
Time. The Understanding is indeed thy window, too clear thou canst not
make it; but Fantasy is thy eye, with its color-giving retina, healthy or
diseased. Have not I myself known five hundred living soldiers sabred into
crows'-meat for a piece of glazed cotton, which they called their Flag;
which, had you sold it at any market-cross, would not have brought above
three groschen? Did not the whole Hungarian Nation rise, like some
tumultuous moon-stirred Atlantic, when Kaiser Joseph pocketed their Iron
Crown; an implement, as was sagaciously observed, in size and commercial
value little differing from a horse-shoe? It is in and through _Symbols_
that man, consciously or unconsciously, lives, works, and has his being:
those ages, moreover, are accounted the noblest which can the best
recognize symbolical worth, and prize it the highest. For is not a Symbol
ever, to him who has eyes for it, some dimmer or clearer revelation of the

"Of Symbols, however, I remark farther, that they have both an extrinsic
and intrinsic value; oftenest the former only. What, for instance, was in
that clouted Shoe, which the Peasants bore aloft with them as ensign in
their _Bauernkrieg_ (Peasants' War)? Or in the Wallet-and-staff round
which the Netherland _Gueux_, glorying in that nickname of Beggars,
heroically rallied and prevailed, though against King Philip himself?
Intrinsic significance these had none: only extrinsic; as the accidental
Standards of multitudes more or less sacredly uniting together; in which
union itself, as above noted, there is ever something mystical and
borrowing of the Godlike. Under a like category, too, stand, or stood, the
stupidest heraldic Coats-of-arms; military Banners everywhere; and
generally all national or other sectarian Costumes and Customs: they have
no intrinsic, necessary divineness, or even worth; but have acquired an
extrinsic one. Nevertheless through all these there glimmers something of
a Divine Idea; as through military Banners themselves, the Divine Idea of
Duty, of heroic Daring; in some instances of Freedom, of Right. Nay the
highest ensign that men ever met and embraced under, the Cross itself, had
no meaning save an accidental extrinsic one.

"Another matter it is, however, when your Symbol has intrinsic meaning, and
is of itself _fit_ that men should unite round it. Let but the Godlike
manifest itself to Sense, let but Eternity look, more or less visibly,
through the Time-Figure (_Zeitbild_)! Then is it fit that men unite there;
and worship together before such Symbol; and so from day to day, and from
age to age, superadd to it new divineness.

"Of this latter sort are all true Works of Art: in them (if thou know a
Work of Art from a Daub of Artifice) wilt thou discern Eternity looking
through Time; the Godlike rendered visible. Here too may an extrinsic
value gradually superadd itself: thus certain _Iliads_, and the like,
have, in three thousand years, attained quite new significance. But nobler
than all in this kind are the Lives of heroic god-inspired Men; for what
other Work of Art is so divine? In Death too, in the Death of the Just, as
the last perfection of a Work of Art, may we not discern symbolic meaning?
In that divinely transfigured Sleep, as of Victory, resting over the
beloved face which now knows thee no more, read (if thou canst for tears)
the confluence of Time with Eternity, and some gleam of the latter peering

"Highest of all Symbols are those wherein the Artist or Poet has risen into
Prophet, and all men can recognize a present God, and worship the Same: I
mean religious Symbols. Various enough have been such religious Symbols,
what we call _Religions_; as men stood in this stage of culture or the
other, and could worse or better body forth the Godlike: some Symbols with
a transient intrinsic worth; many with only an extrinsic. If thou ask to
what height man has carried it in this manner, look on our divinest Symbol:
on Jesus of Nazareth, and his Life, and his Biography, and what followed
therefrom. Higher has the human Thought not yet reached: this is
Christianity and Christendom; a Symbol of quite perennial, infinite
character; whose significance will ever demand to be anew inquired into,
and anew made manifest.

"But, on the whole, as Time adds much to the sacredness of Symbols, so
likewise in his progress he at length defaces, or even desecrates them; and
Symbols, like all terrestrial Garments, wax old. Homer's Epos has not
ceased to be true; yet it is no longer our Epos, but shines in the
distance, if clearer and clearer, yet also smaller and smaller, like a
receding Star. It needs a scientific telescope, it needs to be
reinterpreted and artificially brought near us, before we can so much as
know that it _was_ a Sun. So likewise a day comes when the Runic Thor,
with his Eddas, must withdraw into dimness; and many an African Mumbo-Jumbo
and Indian Pawaw be utterly abolished. For all things, even Celestial
Luminaries, much more atmospheric meteors, have their rise, their
culmination, their decline.

"Small is this which thou tellest me, that the Royal Sceptre is but a piece
of gilt wood; that the Pyx has become a most foolish box, and truly, as
Ancient Pistol thought, 'of little price.' A right Conjurer might I name
thee, couldst thou conjure back into these wooden tools the divine virtue
they once held.

"Of this thing, however, be certain: wouldst thou plant for Eternity, then
plant into the deep infinite faculties of man, his Fantasy and Heart;
wouldst thou plant for Year and Day, then plant into his shallow
superficial faculties, his Self-love and Arithmetical Understanding, what
will grow there. A Hierarch, therefore, and Pontiff of the World will we
call him, the Poet and inspired Maker; who, Prometheus-like, can shape new
Symbols, and bring new Fire from Heaven to fix it there. Such too will not
always be wanting; neither perhaps now are. Meanwhile, as the average of
matters goes, we account him Legislator and wise who can so much as tell
when a Symbol has grown old, and gently remove it.

"When, as the last English Coronation* I was preparing," concludes this
wonderful Professor, "I read in their Newspapers that the 'Champion of
England,' he who has to offer battle to the Universe for his new King, had
brought it so far that he could now 'mount his horse with little
assistance,' I said to myself: Here also we have a Symbol well-nigh
superannuated. Alas, move whithersoever you may, are not the tatters and
rags of superannuated worn-out Symbols (in this Ragfair of a World)
dropping off everywhere, to hoodwink, to halter, to tether you; nay, if you
shake them not aside, threatening to accumulate, and perhaps produce

*That of George IV.--ED.


At this point we determine on adverting shortly, or rather reverting, to a
certain Tract of Hofrath Heuschrecke's, entitled _Institute for the
Repression of Population_; which lies, dishonorably enough (with torn
leaves, and a perceptible smell of aloetic drugs), stuffed into the Bag
_Pisces_. Not indeed for the sake of the tract itself, which we admire
little; but of the marginal Notes, evidently in Teufelsdrockh's hand, which
rather copiously fringe it. A few of these may be in their right place

Into the Hofrath's _Institute_, with its extraordinary schemes, and
machinery of Corresponding Boards and the like, we shall not so much as
glance. Enough for us to understand that Heuschrecke is a disciple of
Malthus; and so zealous for the doctrine, that his zeal almost literally
eats him up. A deadly fear of Population possesses the Hofrath; something
like a fixed idea; undoubtedly akin to the more diluted forms of Madness.
Nowhere, in that quarter of his intellectual world, is there light; nothing
but a grim shadow of Hunger; open mouths opening wider and wider; a world
to terminate by the frightfullest consummation: by its too dense
inhabitants, famished into delirium, universally eating one another. To
make air for himself in which strangulation, choking enough to a benevolent
heart, the Hofrath founds, or proposes to found, this _Institute_ of his,
as the best he can do. It is only with our Professor's comments thereon
that we concern ourselves.

First, then, remark that Teufelsdrockh, as a speculative Radical, has his
own notions about human dignity; that the Zahdarm palaces and courtesies
have not made him forgetful of the Futteral cottages. On the blank cover
of Heuschrecke's Tract we find the following indistinctly engrossed:--

"Two men I honor, and no third. First, the toilworn Craftsman that with
earth-made Implement laboriously conquers the Earth, and makes her man's.
Venerable to me is the hard Hand; crooked, coarse; wherein notwithstanding
lies a cunning virtue, indefeasibly royal, as of the Sceptre of this
Planet. Venerable too is the rugged face, all weather-tanned, besoiled,
with its rude intelligence; for it is the face of a Man living manlike.
Oh, but the more venerable for thy rudeness, and even because we must pity
as well as love thee! Hardly-entreated Brother! For us was thy back so
bent, for us were thy straight limbs and fingers so deformed: thou wert
our Conscript, on whom the lot fell, and fighting our battles wert so
marred. For in thee too lay a god-created Form, but it was not to be
unfolded; encrusted must it stand with the thick adhesions and defacements
of Labor: and thy body, like thy soul, was not to know freedom. Yet toil
on, toil on: _thou_ art in thy duty, be out of it who may; thou toilest
for the altogether indispensable, for daily bread.

"A second man I honor, and still more highly: Him who is seen toiling for
the spiritually indispensable; not daily bread, but the bread of Life. Is
not he too in his duty; endeavoring towards inward Harmony; revealing this,
by act or by word, through all his outward endeavors, be they high or low?
Highest of all, when his outward and his inward endeavor are one: when we
can name him Artist; not earthly Craftsman only, but inspired Thinker, who
with heaven-made Implement conquers Heaven for us! If the poor and humble
toil that we have Food, must not the high and glorious toil for him in
return, that he have Light, have Guidance, Freedom, Immortality?--These
two, in all their degrees, I honor: all else is chaff and dust, which let
the wind blow whither it listeth.

"Unspeakably touching is it, however, when I find both dignities united;
and he that must toil outwardly for the lowest of man's wants, is also
toiling inwardly for the highest. Sublimer in this world know I nothing
than a Peasant Saint, could such now anywhere be met with. Such a one will
take thee back to Nazareth itself; thou wilt see the splendor of Heaven
spring forth from the humblest depths of Earth, like a light shining in
great darkness."

And again: "It is not because of his toils that I lament for the poor: we
must all toil, or steal (howsoever we name our stealing), which is worse;
no faithful workman finds his task a pastime. The poor is hungry and
athirst; but for him also there is food and drink: he is heavy-laden and
weary; but for him also the Heavens send Sleep, and of the deepest; in his
smoky cribs, a clear dewy heaven of Rest envelops him; and fitful
glitterings of cloud-skirted Dreams. But what I do mourn over is, that the
lamp of his soul should go out; that no ray of heavenly, or even of earthly
knowledge, should visit him; but only, in the haggard darkness, like two
spectres, Fear and Indignation bear him company. Alas, while the Body
stands so broad and brawny, must the Soul lie blinded, dwarfed, stupefied,
almost annihilated! Alas, was this too a Breath of God; bestowed in
Heaven, but on earth never to be unfolded!--That there should one Man die
ignorant who had capacity for Knowledge, this I call a tragedy, were it to
happen more than twenty times in the minute, as by some computations it
does. The miserable fraction of Science which our united Mankind, in a
wide Universe of Nescience, has acquired, why is not this, with all
diligence, imparted to all?"

Quite in an opposite strain is the following: "The old Spartans had a
wiser method; and went out and hunted down their Helots, and speared and
spitted them, when they grew too numerous. With our improved fashions of
hunting, Herr Hofrath, now after the invention of fire-arms, and standing
armies, how much easier were such a hunt! Perhaps in the most thickly
peopled country, some three days annually might suffice to shoot all the
able-bodied Paupers that had accumulated within the year. Let Governments
think of this. The expense were trifling: nay the very carcasses would
pay it. Have them salted and barrelled; could not you victual therewith,
if not Army and Navy, yet richly such infirm Paupers, in workhouses and
elsewhere, as enlightened Charity, dreading no evil of them, might see good
to keep alive?"

"And yet," writes he farther on, "there must be something wrong. A
full-formed Horse will, in any market, bring from twenty to as high as two
hundred Friedrichs d'or: such is his worth to the world. A full-formed
Man is not only worth nothing to the world, but the world could afford him
a round sum would he simply engage to go and hang himself. Nevertheless,
which of the two was the more cunningly devised article, even as an Engine?
Good Heavens! A white European Man, standing on his two Legs, with his two
five-fingered Hands at his shackle-bones, and miraculous Head on his
shoulders, is worth, I should say, from fifty to a hundred Horses!"

"True, thou Gold-Hofrath," cries the Professor elsewhere: "too crowded
indeed! Meanwhile, what portion of this inconsiderable terraqueous Globe
have ye actually tilled and delved, till it will grow no more? How thick
stands your Population in the Pampas and Savannas of America; round ancient
Carthage, and in the interior of Africa; on both slopes of the Altaic
chain, in the central Platform of Asia; in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Crim
Tartary, the Curragh of Kildare? One man, in one year, as I have
understood it, if you lend him Earth, will feed himself and nine others.
Alas, where now are the Hengsts and Alarics of our still-glowing,
still-expanding Europe; who, when their home is grown too narrow, will
enlist, and, like Fire-pillars, guide onwards those superfluous masses of
indomitable living Valor; equipped, not now with the battle-axe and
war-chariot, but with the steam engine and ploughshare? Where are
they?--Preserving their Game!"



Putting which four singular Chapters together, and alongside of them
numerous hints, and even direct utterances, scattered over these Writings
of his, we come upon the startling yet not quite unlooked-for conclusion,
that Teufelsdrockh is one of those who consider Society, properly so
called, to be as good as extinct; and that only the gregarious feelings,
and old inherited habitudes, at this juncture, hold us from Dispersion, and
universal national, civil, domestic and personal war! He says expressly:
"For the last three centuries, above all for the last three quarters of a
century, that same Pericardial Nervous Tissue (as we named it) of Religion,
where lies the Life-essence of Society, has been smote at and perforated,
needfully and needlessly; till now it is quite rent into shreds; and
Society, long pining, diabetic, consumptive, can be regarded as defunct;
for those spasmodic, galvanic sprawlings are not life; neither indeed will
they endure, galvanize as you may, beyond two days."

"Call ye that a Society," cries he again, "where there is no longer any
Social Idea extant; not so much as the Idea of a common Home, but only of a
common over-crowded Lodging-house? Where each, isolated, regardless of his
neighbor, turned against his neighbor, clutches what he can get, and cries
'Mine!' and calls it Peace, because, in the cut-purse and cut-throat
Scramble, no steel knives, but only a far cunninger sort, can be employed?
Where Friendship, Communion, has become an incredible tradition; and your
holiest Sacramental Supper is a smoking Tavern Dinner, with Cook for
Evangelist? Where your Priest has no tongue but for plate-licking: and
your high Guides and Governors cannot guide; but on all hands hear it
passionately proclaimed: _Laissez faire_; Leave us alone of _your_
guidance, such light is darker than darkness; eat you your wages, and

"Thus, too," continues he, "does an observant eye discern everywhere that
saddest spectacle: The Poor perishing, like neglected, foundered
Draught-Cattle, of Hunger and Overwork; the Rich, still more wretchedly, of
Idleness, Satiety, and Overgrowth. The Highest in rank, at length, without
honor from the Lowest; scarcely, with a little mouth-honor, as from
tavern-waiters who expect to put it in the bill. Once-sacred Symbols
fluttering as empty Pageants, whereof men grudge even the expense; a World
becoming dismantled: in one word, the STATE fallen speechless, from
obesity and apoplexy; the STATE shrunken into a Police-Office, straitened
to get its pay!"

We might ask, are there many "observant eyes," belonging to practical men
in England or elsewhere, which have descried these phenomena; or is it only
from the mystic elevation of a German _Wahngasse_ that such wonders are
visible? Teufelsdrockh contends that the aspect of a "deceased or expiring
Society" fronts us everywhere, so that whoso runs may read. "What, for
example," says he, "is the universally arrogated Virtue, almost the sole
remaining Catholic Virtue, of these days? For some half-century, it has
been the thing you name 'Independence.' Suspicion of 'Servility,' of
reverence for Superiors, the very dog-leech is anxious to disavow. Fools!
Were your Superiors worthy to govern, and you worthy to obey, reverence for
them were even your only possible freedom. Independence, in all kinds, is
rebellion; if unjust rebellion, why parade it, and everywhere prescribe

But what then? Are we returning, as Rousseau prayed, to the state of
Nature? "The Soul Politic having departed," says Teufelsdrockh, "what can
follow but that the Body Politic be decently interred, to avoid
putrescence? Liberals, Economists, Utilitarians enough I see marching with
its bier, and chanting loud paeans, towards the funeral pile, where, amid
wailings from some, and saturnalian revelries from the most, the venerable
Corpse is to be burnt. Or, in plain words, that these men, Liberals,
Utilitarians, or whatsoever they are called, will ultimately carry their
point, and dissever and destroy most existing Institutions of Society,
seems a thing which has some time ago ceased to be doubtful.

"Do we not see a little subdivision of the grand Utilitarian Armament come
to light even in insulated England? A living nucleus, that will attract
and grow, does at length appear there also; and under curious phasis;
properly as the inconsiderable fag-end, and so far in the rear of the
others as to fancy itself the van. Our European Mechanizers are a sect of
boundless diffusion, activity, and co-operative spirit: has not
Utilitarianism flourished in high places of Thought, here among ourselves,
and in every European country, at some time or other, within the last fifty
years? If now in all countries, except perhaps England, it has ceased to
flourish, or indeed to exist, among Thinkers, and sunk to Journalists and
the popular mass,--who sees not that, as hereby it no longer preaches, so
the reason is, it now needs no Preaching, but is in full universal Action,
the doctrine everywhere known, and enthusiastically laid to heart? The fit
pabulum, in these times, for a certain rugged workshop intellect and heart,
nowise without their corresponding workshop strength and ferocity, it
requires but to be stated in such scenes to make proselytes enough.--
Admirably calculated for destroying, only not for rebuilding! It spreads
like a sort of Dog-madness; till the whole World-kennel will be rabid:
then woe to the Huntsmen, with or without their whips! They should have
given the quadrupeds water," adds he; "the water, namely, of Knowledge and
of Life, while it was yet time."

Thus, if Professor Teufelsdrockh can be relied on, we are at this hour in a
most critical condition; beleaguered by that boundless "Armament of
Mechanizers" and Unbelievers, threatening to strip us bare! "The World,"
says he, "as it needs must, is under a process of devastation and waste.
which, whether by silent assiduous corrosion, or open quicker combustion,
as the case chances, will effectually enough annihilate the past Forms of
Society; replace them with what it may. For the present, it is
contemplated that when man's whole Spiritual Interests are once _divested_,
these innumerable stript-off Garments shall mostly be burnt; but the
sounder Rags among them be quilted together into one huge Irish watch-coat
for the defence of the Body only!"--This, we think, is but Job's-news to
the humane reader.

"Nevertheless," cries Teufelsdrockh, "who can hinder it; who is there that
can clutch into the wheelspokes of Destiny, and say to the Spirit of the
Time: Turn back, I command thee?--Wiser were it that we yielded to the
Inevitable and Inexorable, and accounted even this the best."

Nay, might not an attentive Editor, drawing his own inferences from what
stands written, conjecture that Teufelsdrockh, individually had yielded to
this same "Inevitable and Inexorable" heartily enough; and now sat waiting
the issue, with his natural diabolico-angelical Indifference, if not even
Placidity? Did we not hear him complain that the World was a "huge
Ragfair," and the "rags and tatters of old Symbols" were raining down
everywhere, like to drift him in, and suffocate him? What with those
"unhunted Helots" of his; and the uneven _sic vos non vobis_ pressure and
hard-crashing collision he is pleased to discern in existing things; what
with the so hateful "empty Masks," full of beetles and spiders, yet glaring
out on him, from their glass eyes, "with a ghastly affectation of
life,"--we feel entitled to conclude him even willing that much should be
thrown to the Devil, so it were but done gently! Safe himself in that
"Pinnacle of Weissnichtwo," he would consent, with a tragic solemnity, that
the monster UTILITARIA, held back, indeed, and moderated by nose-rings,
halters, foot-shackles, and every conceivable modification of rope, should
go forth to do her work;--to tread down old ruinous Palaces and Temples
with her broad hoof, till the whole were trodden down, that new and better
might be built! Remarkable in this point of view are the following

"Society," says he, "is not dead: that Carcass, which you call dead
Society, is but her mortal coil which she has shuffled off, to assume a
nobler; she herself, through perpetual metamorphoses, in fairer and fairer
development, has to live till Time also merge in Eternity. Wheresoever two
or three Living Men are gathered together, there is Society; or there it
will be, with its cunning mechanisms and stupendous structures,
overspreading this little Globe, and reaching upwards to Heaven and
downwards to Gehenna: for always, under one or the other figure, it has
two authentic Revelations, of a God and of a Devil; the Pulpit, namely, and
the Gallows."

Indeed, we already heard him speak of "Religion, in unnoticed nooks,
weaving for herself new Vestures;"--Teufelsdrockh himself being one of the
loom-treadles? Elsewhere he quotes without censure that strange aphorism
of Saint Simon's, concerning which and whom so much were to be said:
"_L'age d'or, qu'une aveugle tradition a place jusqu'ici dans le passe, est
devant nous_; The golden age, which a blind tradition has hitherto placed
in the Past, is Before us."--But listen again:--

"When the Phoenix is fanning her funeral pyre, will there not be sparks
flying! Alas, some millions of men, and among them such as a Napoleon,
have already been licked into that high-eddying Flame, and like moths
consumed there. Still also have we to fear that incautious beards will get

"For the rest, in what year of grace such Phoenix-cremation will be
completed, you need not ask. The law of Perseverance is among the deepest
in man: by nature he hates change; seldom will he quit his old house till
it has actually fallen about his ears. Thus have I seen Solemnities linger
as Ceremonies, sacred Symbols as idle Pageants, to the extent of three
hundred years and more after all life and sacredness had evaporated out of
them. And then, finally, what time the Phoenix Death-Birth itself will
require, depends on unseen contingencies.--Meanwhile, would Destiny offer
Mankind, that after, say two centuries of convulsion and conflagration,
more or less vivid, the fire-creation should be accomplished, and we to
find ourselves again in a Living Society, and no longer fighting but
working,--were it not perhaps prudent in Mankind to strike the bargain?"

Thus is Teufelsdrockh, content that old sick Society should be deliberately
burnt (alas, with quite other fuel than spice-wood); in the faith that she
is a Phoenix; and that a new heaven-born young one will rise out of her
ashes! We ourselves, restricted to the duty of Indicator, shall forbear
commentary. Meanwhile, will not the judicious reader shake his head, and
reproachfully, yet more in sorrow than in anger, say or think: From a
_Doctor utriusque Juris_, titular Professor in a University, and man to
whom hitherto, for his services, Society, bad as she is, has given not only
food and raiment (of a kind), but books, tobacco and gukguk, we expected
more gratitude to his benefactress; and less of a blind trust in the future
which resembles that rather of a philosophical Fatalist and Enthusiast,
than of a solid householder paying scot-and-lot in a Christian country.


As mentioned above, Teufelsdrockh, though a Sansculottist, is in practice
probably the politest man extant: his whole heart and life are penetrated
and informed with the spirit of politeness; a noble natural Courtesy shines
through him, beautifying his vagaries; like sunlight, making a
rosyfingered, rainbow-dyed Aurora out of mere aqueous clouds; nay
brightening London-smoke itself into gold vapor, as from the crucible of an
alchemist. Hear in what earnest though fantastic wise he expresses himself
on this head:--

"Shall Courtesy be done only to the rich, and only by the rich? In
Good-breeding, which differs, if at all, from High-breeding, only as it
gracefully remembers the rights of others, rather than gracefully insists
on its own rights, I discern no special connection with wealth or birth:
but rather that it lies in human nature itself, and is due from all men
towards all men. Of a truth, were your Schoolmaster at his post, and worth
anything when there, this, with so much else, would be reformed. Nay, each
man were then also his neighbor's schoolmaster; till at length a
rude-visaged, unmannered Peasant could no more be met with, than a Peasant
unacquainted with botanical Physiology, or who felt not that the clod he
broke was created in Heaven.

"For whether thou bear a sceptre or a sledge-hammer, art not thou ALIVE; is
not this thy brother ALIVE? 'There is but one temple in the world,' says
Novalis, 'and that temple is the Body of Man. Nothing is holier than this
high Form. Bending before men is a reverence done to this Revelation in
the Flesh. We touch Heaven, when we lay our hands on a human Body.'

"On which ground, I would fain carry it farther than most do; and whereas
the English Johnson only bowed to every Clergyman, or man with a
shovel-hat, I would bow to every Man with any sort of hat, or with no hat
whatever. Is not he a Temple, then; the visible Manifestation and
Impersonation of the Divinity? And yet, alas, such indiscriminate bowing
serves not. For there is a Devil dwells in man, as well as a Divinity; and
too often the bow is but pocketed by the _former_. It would go to the
pocket of Vanity (which is your clearest phasis of the Devil, in these
times); therefore must we withhold it.

"The gladder am I, on the other hand, to do reverence to those Shells and
outer Husks of the Body, wherein no devilish passion any longer lodges, but
only the pure emblem and effigies of Man: I mean, to Empty, or even to
Cast Clothes. Nay, is it not to Clothes that most men do reverence: to
the fine frogged broadcloth, nowise to the 'straddling animal with bandy
legs' which it holds, and makes a Dignitary of? Who ever saw any Lord
my-lorded in tattered blanket fastened with wooden skewer? Nevertheless, I
say, there is in such worship a shade of hypocrisy, a practical deception:
for how often does the Body appropriate what was meant for the Cloth only!
Whoso would avoid falsehood, which is the essence of all Sin, will perhaps
see good to take a different course. That reverence which cannot act
without obstruction and perversion when the Clothes are full, may have free
course when they are empty. Even as, for Hindoo Worshippers, the Pagoda is
not less sacred than the God; so do I too worship the hollow cloth Garment
with equal fervor, as when it contained the Man: nay, with more, for I now
fear no deception, of myself or of others.

"Did not King _Toomtabard_, or, in other words, John Baliol, reign long
over Scotland; the man John Baliol being quite gone, and only the 'Toom
Tabard' (Empty Gown) remaining? What still dignity dwells in a suit of
Cast Clothes! How meekly it bears its honors! No haughty looks, no
scornful gesture: silent and serene, it fronts the world; neither
demanding worship, nor afraid to miss it. The Hat still carries the
physiognomy of its Head: but the vanity and the stupidity, and
goose-speech which was the sign of these two, are gone. The Coat-arm is
stretched out, but not to strike; the Breeches, in modest simplicity,
depend at ease, and now at last have a graceful flow; the Waistcoat hides
no evil passion, no riotous desire; hunger or thirst now dwells not in it.
Thus all is purged from the grossness of sense, from the carking cares and
foul vices of the World; and rides there, on its Clothes-horse; as, on a
Pegasus, might some skyey Messenger, or purified Apparition, visiting our
low Earth.

"Often, while I sojourned in that monstrous tuberosity of Civilized Life,
the Capital of England; and meditated, and questioned Destiny, under that
ink-sea of vapor, black, thick, and multifarious as Spartan broth; and was
one lone soul amid those grinding millions;--often have I turned into their
Old-Clothes Market to worship. With awe-struck heart I walk through that
Monmouth Street, with its empty Suits, as through a Sanhedrim of stainless
Ghosts. Silent are they, but expressive in their silence: the past
witnesses and instruments of Woe and Joy, of Passions, Virtues, Crimes, and
all the fathomless tumult of Good and Evil in 'the Prison men call Life.'
Friends! trust not the heart of that man for whom Old Clothes are not
venerable. Watch, too, with reverence, that bearded Jewish High-priest,
who with hoarse voice, like some Angel of Doom, summons them from the four
winds! On his head, like the Pope, he has three Hats,--a real triple
tiara; on either hand are the similitude of wings, whereon the summoned
Garments come to alight; and ever, as he slowly cleaves the air, sounds
forth his deep fateful note, as if through a trumpet he were proclaiming:
'Ghosts of Life, come to Judgment!' Reck not, ye fluttering Ghosts: he
will purify you in his Purgatory, with fire and with water; and, one day,
new-created ye shall reappear. Oh, let him in whom the flame of Devotion
is ready to go out, who has never worshipped, and knows not what to
worship, pace and repace, with austerest thought, the pavement of Monmouth
Street, and say whether his heart and his eyes still continue dry. If
Field Lane, with its long fluttering rows of yellow handkerchiefs, be a
Dionysius' Ear, where, in stifled jarring hubbub, we hear the Indictment
which Poverty and Vice bring against lazy Wealth, that it has left them
there cast out and trodden under foot of Want, Darkness and the
Devil,--then is Monmouth Street a Mirza's Hill, where, in motley vision,

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