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The Pleasures of Life by Sir John Lubbock

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conditions." Such also has been my own experience.

"Men talk of unkind hearts, kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas! the gratitude of men
Has oftener left me mourning."

I cannot, then, agree with Emerson that "we walk alone in the world.
Friends such as we desire are dreams and fables. But a sublime hope cheers
ever the faithful heart, that elsewhere in other regions of the universal
power souls are now acting, enduring, and daring, which can love us, and
which we can love."

No doubt, much as worthy friends add to the happiness and value of life,
we must in the main depend on ourselves, and every one is his own best
friend or worst enemy.

Sad, indeed, is Bacon's assertion that "there is little friendship in the
world, and least of all between equals, which was wont to be magnified.
That that is, is between superior and inferior, whose fortunes may
comprehend the one to the other." But this can hardly be taken as his
deliberate opinion, for he elsewhere says, "but we may go farther, and
affirm most truly, that it is a mere and miserable solitude to want true
friends, without which the world is but a wilderness." Not only, he adds,
does friendship introduce "daylight in the understanding out of darkness
and confusion of thoughts;" it "maketh a fair day in the affections from
storm and tempests:" in consultation with a friend a man "tosseth his
thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they
look when they are turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than
himself, and that more by an hour's discourse than by a day's
meditation."... "But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far
it extendeth, for a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of
pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal where there is no love."

With this last assertion I cannot altogether concur. Surely even strangers
may be most interesting! and many will agree with Dr. Johnson when,
describing a pleasant evening, he summed it up--"Sir, we had a good talk."

Epictetus gives excellent advice when he dissuades from conversation on
the very subjects most commonly chosen, and advises that it should be on
"none of the common subjects--not about gladiators, nor horse-races, nor
about athletes, nor about eating or drinking, which are the usual
subjects; and especially not about men, as blaming them;" but when he
adds, "or praising them," the injunction seems to me of doubtful value.
Surely Marcus Aurelius more wisely advises that "when thou wishest to
delight thyself, think of the virtues of those who live with thee; for
instance, the activity of one, and the modesty of another, and the
liberality of a third, and some other good quality of a fourth. For
nothing delights so much as the examples of the virtues, when they are
exhibited in the morals of those who live with us and present themselves
in abundance, as far as is possible. Wherefore we must keep them before
us." Yet how often we know merely the sight of those we call our friends,
or the sound of their voices, but nothing whatever of their mind or soul.

We must, moreover, be as careful to keep friends as to make them. If every
one knew what one said of the other, Pascal assures us that "there would
not be four friends in the world." This I hope and think is too strong,
but at any rate try to be one of the four. And when you have made a
friend, keep him. Hast thou a friend, says an Eastern proverb, "visit him
often, for thorns and brushwood obstruct the road which no one treads."
The affections should not be mere "tents of a night."

Still less does Friendship confer any privilege to make ourselves
disagreeable. Some people never seem to appreciate their friends till they
have lost them. Anaxagoras described the Mausoleum as the ghost of wealth
turned into stone.

"But he who has once stood beside the grave to look back on the
companionship which has been for ever closed, feeling how impotent _then_
are the wild love and the keen sorrow, to give one instant's pleasure to
the pulseless heart, or atone in the lowest measure to the departed spirit
for the hour of unkindness, will scarcely for the future incur that debt
to the heart which can only be discharged to the dust." [1]

Death, indeed, cannot sever friendship. "Friends," says Cicero, "though
absent, are still present; though in poverty they are rich; though weak,
yet in the enjoyment of health; and, what is still more difficult to
assert, though dead they are alive." This seems a paradox, yet it there
not much truth in his explanation? "To me, indeed, Scipio still lives, and
will always live; for I love the virtue of that man, and that worth is not
yet extinguished.... Assuredly of all things that either fortune or time
has bestowed on me, I have none which I can compare with the friendship of

If, then, we choose our friends for what they are, not for what they have,
and if we deserve so great a blessing, then they will be always with us,
preserved in absence, and even after death, in the "amber of memory."

[1] Ruskin.



Each day is a little life.

All other good gifts depend on time for their value. What are friends,
books, or health, the interest of travel or the delights of home, if we
have not time for their enjoyment? Time is often said to be money, but it
is more-it is life; and yet many who would cling desperately to life,
think nothing of wasting time.

Ask of the wise, says Schiller in Lord Sherbrooke's translation,

"The moments we forego
Eternity itself cannot retrieve."

And, in the words of Dante,

"For who knows most, him loss of time most grieves."

Not that a life of drudgery should be our ideal. Far from it. Time spent
in innocent and rational enjoyments, in healthy games, in social and
family intercourse, is well and wisely spent. Games not only keep the body
in health, but give a command over the muscles and limbs which cannot be
overvalued. Moreover, there are temptations which strong exercise best
enables us to resist.

It is the idle who complain they cannot find time to do that which they
fancy they wish. In truth, people can generally make time for what they
choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is wanting: and
the advantage of leisure is mainly that we may have the power of choosing
our own work, not certainly that it confers any privilege of idleness.

"Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. I'll tell you who time
ambles withal, who time trots withal, who time gallops withal, and who he
stands still withal." [1]

For it is not so much the hours that tell, as the way we use them.

"Circles are praised, not that excel
In largeness, but th'exactly framed;
So life we praise, that doth excel
Not in much time, but acting well." [2]

"Idleness," says Jeremy Taylor, "is the greatest prodigality in the world;
it throws away that which is invaluable in respect of its present use, and
irreparable when it is past, being to be recovered by no power of art or

Life must be measured rather by depth than by length, by thought and
action rather than by time. "A counted number of pulses only," says Pater,
"is given to us of a variegated, aromatic, life. How may we see in them
all that is to be seen by the finest senses? How can we pass most swiftly
from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest
number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always with
this hard gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.
Failure is to form habits, for habit is relation to a stereotyped
world:... while all melts under our feet, we may well catch at any
exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge, that seems, by a
lifted horizon, to set the spirit free for a moment."

I would not quote Lord Chesterfield as generally a safe guide, but there
is certainly much shrewd wisdom in his advice to his son with reference to
time. "Every moment you now lose, is so much character and advantage lost;
as, on the other hand, every moment you now employ usefully, is so much
time wisely laid out, at prodigious interest."

And again, "It is astonishing that any one can squander away in absolute
idleness one single moment of that small portion of time which is allotted
to us in the world ... Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and
enjoy every moment of it."

"Are you in earnest? seize this very minute,
What you can do, or think you can, begin it." [3]

There is a Turkish proverb that the Devil tempts the Idle man, but the
Idle man tempts the Devil. I remember, says Hilliard, "a satirical poem,
in which the Devil is represented as fishing for men, and adapting his
bait to the tastes and temperaments of his prey; but the idlers were the
easiest victims, for they swallowed even the naked hook."

The mind of the idler indeed preys upon itself. "The human heart is like a
millstone in a mill; when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and
bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on--and
grinds itself away." [4]

It is not work, but care, that kills, and it is in this sense, I suppose,
that we are told to "take no thought for the morrow." To "consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
and yet even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and
to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye
of little faith?" It would indeed be a mistake to suppose that lilies are
idle or imprudent. On the contrary, plants are most industrious, and
lilies store up in their complex bulbs a great part of the nourishment of
one year to quicken the growth of the next. Care, on the other hand, they
certainly know not. [5]

"Hours have wings, fly up to the author of time, and carry news of our
usage. All our prayers cannot entreat one of them either to return or
slacken his pace. The misspents of every minute are a new record against
us in heaven. Sure if we thought thus, we should dismiss them with better
reports, and not suffer them to fly away empty, or laden with dangerous
intelligence. How happy is it when they carry up not only the messages,
but the fruits of good, and stay with the Ancient of Days to speak for us
before His glorious throne!" [6]

Time is often said to fly; but it is not so much the time that flies; as
we that waste it, and wasted time is worse than no time at all; "I wasted
time," Shakespeare makes Richard II. say, "and now doth time waste me."

"He that is choice of his time," says Jeremy Taylor, "will also be choice
of his company, and choice of his actions; lest the first engage him in
vanity and loss, and the latter, by being criminal, be a throwing his time
and himself away, and a going back in the accounts of eternity."

The life of man is seventy years, but how little of this is actually our
own. We must deduct the time required for sleep, for meals, for dressing
and undressing, for exercise, etc., and then how little remains really at
our own disposal!

"I have lived," said Lamb, "nominally fifty years, but deduct from them
the hours I have lived for other people, and not for myself, and you will
find me still a young fellow."

The hours we live for other people, however, are not those that should be
deducted, but rather those which benefit neither oneself nor any one else;
and these, alas! are often very numerous.

"There are some hours which are taken from us, some which are stolen from
us, and some which slip from us." [7] But however we may lose them, we can
never get them back. It is wonderful, indeed, how much innocent happiness
we thoughtlessly throw away. An Eastern proverb says that calamities sent
by heaven may be avoided, but from those we bring on ourselves there is no

Some years ago I paid a visit to the principal lake villages of
Switzerland in company with a distinguished archaeologist, M. Morlot. To
my surprise I found that his whole income was L100 a year, part of which,
moreover, he spent in making a small museum. I asked him whether he
contemplated accepting any post or office, but he said certainly not. He
valued his leisure and opportunities as priceless possessions far more
than silver or gold, and would not waste any of his time in making money.

Time indeed, is a sacred gift, and each day is a little life. Just think
of our advantages here in London! We have access to the whole literature
of the world; we may see in our National Gallery the most beautiful
productions of former generations, and in the Royal Academy and other
galleries the works of the greatest living artists. Perhaps there is no
one who has ever found time to see the British Museum thoroughly. Yet
consider what it contains; or rather, what does it not contain? The most
gigantic of living and extinct animals; the marvellous monsters of
geological ages; the most beautiful birds, shells, and minerals; precious
stones and fragments from other worlds; the most interesting antiquities;
curious and fantastic specimens illustrating different races of men;
exquisite gems, coins, glass, and china; the Elgin marbles; the remains of
the Mausoleum; of the temple of Diana of Ephesus; ancient monuments of
Egypt and Assyria; the rude implements of our predecessors in England, who
were coeval with the hippopotamus and rhinoceros, the musk-ox, and the
mammoth; and beautiful specimens of Greek and Roman art.

Suffering may be unavoidable, but no one has any excuse for being dull.
And yet some people _are_ dull. They talk of a better world to come, while
whatever dulness there may be here is all their own. Sir Arthur Helps has
well said: "What! dull, when you do not know what gives its loveliness of
form to the lily, its depth of color to the violet, its fragrance to the
rose; when you do not know in what consists the venom of the adder, any
more than you can imitate the glad movements of the dove. What! dull, when
earth, air, and water are all alike mysteries to you, and when as you
stretch out your hand you do not touch anything the properties of which
you have mastered; while all the time Nature is inviting you to talk
earnestly with her, to understand her, to subdue her, and to be blessed by
her! Go away, man; learn something, do something, understand something,
and let me hear no more of your dulness."

[1] Shakespeare.

[2] Waller.

[3] _Faust_.

[4] Luther.

[5] The word used [Greek: merimnaesaete] is translated in Liddell and
Scott "to be anxious about, to be distressed in mind, to be cumbered with
many cares."

[6] Milton.

[7] Seneca.



"I am a part of all that I have seen."--TENNYSON.

I am sometimes disposed to think that there are few things in which we of
this generation enjoy greater advantages over our ancestors than in the
increased facilities of travel; but I hesitate to say this, not because
our advantages are not great, but because I have already made the same
remark with reference to several other aspects of life.

The very word "travel" is suggestive. It is a form of "travail"--excessive
labor; and, as Skeat observes, it forcibly recalls the toil of travel in
olden days. How different things are now!

It is sometimes said that every one should travel on foot "like Thales,
Plato, and Pythagoras"; we are told that in these days of railroads people
rush through countries and see nothing. It may be so, but that is not the
fault of the railways. They confer upon us the inestimable advantage of
being able, so rapidly and with so little fatigue, to visit countries
which were much less accessible to our ancestors. What a blessing it is
that not our own islands only--our smiling fields and rich woods, the
mountains that are full of peace and the rivers of joy, the lakes and
heaths and hills, castles and cathedrals, and many a spot immortalized in
the history of our country:--not these only, but the sun and scenery of
the South, the Alps the palaces of Nature, the blue Mediterranean, and the
cities of Europe, with all their memories and treasures, are now brought
within a few hours of us.

Surely no one who has the opportunity should omit to travel. The world
belongs to him who has seen it. "But he that would make his travels
delightful must first make himself delightful." [1]

According to the old proverb, "the fool wanders, the wise man travels."
Bacon tells us that "the things to be seen and observed are the courts of
princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of
justice while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories
ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are
therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns; and so
the havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges,
disputations and lectures, when any are; shipping and navies; houses and
gardens of state and pleasure near great cities; armories, arsenals,
magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship,
fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the
better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets
and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places
where they go."

But this depends on the time at our disposal, and the object with which we
travel. If we can stay long in any one place Bacon's advice is no doubt
excellent; but for the moment I am thinking rather of an annual holiday,
taken for the sake of rest and health; for fresh air and exercise rather
than for study. Yet even so, if we have eyes to see we cannot fail to lay
in a stock of new ideas as well as a store of health.

We may have read the most vivid and accurate description, we may have
pored over maps and plans and pictures, and yet the reality will burst on
us like a revelation. This is true not only of mountains and glaciers, of
palaces and cathedrals, but even of the simplest examples.

For instance, like every one else, I had read descriptions and seen
photographs and pictures of the Pyramids. Their form is simplicity itself.
I do not know that I could put into words any characteristic of the
original for which I was not prepared. It was not that they were larger;
it was not that they differed in form, in color, or situation. And yet,
the moment I saw them, I felt that my previous impression had been but a
faint shadow of the reality. The actual sight seemed to give life to the

Every one who has been in the East will agree that a week of oriental
travel brings out, with more than stereoscopic effect, the pictures of
patriarchal life as given us in the Old Testament. And what is true of the
Old Testament is true of history generally. To those who have been in
Athens or Rome, the history of Greece or Italy becomes far more
interesting; while, on the other hand, some knowledge of the history and
literature enormously enhances the interest of the scenes themselves.

Good descriptions and pictures, however, help us to see much more than we
should perhaps perceive for ourselves. It may even be doubted whether some
persons do not derive a more correct impression from a good drawing or
description, which brings out the salient points, than they would from
actual, but unaided, inspection. The idea may gain in accuracy, in
character, and even in detail, more than it misses in vividness. But,
however this may be, for those who cannot travel, descriptions and
pictures have an immense interest; while to those who _have_ traveled,
they will afford an inexhaustible delight in reviving the memories of
beautiful scenes and interesting expeditions.

It is really astonishing how little most of us see of the beautiful world
in which we live. Mr. Norman Lockyer tells me that while traveling on a
scientific mission in the Rocky Mountains, he was astonished to meet an
aged French Abbe, and could not help showing his surprise. The Abbe
observed this, and in the course of conversation explained his presence in
that distant region.

"You were," he said, "I easily saw, surprised to find me here. The fact
is, that some months ago I was very ill. My physicians gave me up: one
morning I seemed to faint and thought that I was already in the arms of
the Bon Dieu. I fancied one of the angels came and asked me, 'Well, M.
l'Abbe how did you like the beautiful world you have just left?' And then
it occurred to me that I who had been all my life preaching about heaven,
had seen almost nothing of the world in which I was living. I determined
therefore, if it pleased Providence to spare me, to see something of this
world; and so here I am."

Few of us are free, however much we might wish it, to follow the example
of the worthy Abbe. But although it may not be possible for us to reach
the Rocky Mountains, there are other countries nearer home which most of
us might find time to visit.

Though it is true that no descriptions can come near the reality, they may
at least persuade us to give ourselves this great advantage. Let me then
try to illustrate this by pictures in words, as realized by one of our
most illustrious countrymen; I will select references to foreign countries
only, not that we have not equal beauties here, but because everywhere in
England one feels oneself at home.

The following passage from _Tyndall's Hours of Exercise in the Alps_, is
almost as good as an hour in the Alps themselves:

"I looked over this wondrous scene toward Mont Blanc, the Grand Combin,
the Dent Blanche, the Weisshorn, the Dom, and the thousand lesser peaks
which seem to join in the celebration of the risen day. I asked myself, as
on previous occasions, How was this colossal work performed? Who chiselled
these mighty and picturesque masses out of a mere protuberance of the
earth? And the answer was at hand. Ever young, ever mighty-with the vigor
of a thousand worlds still within him-the real sculptor was even then
climbing up the eastern sky. It was he who raised aloft the waters which
cut out these ravines; it was he who planted the glaciers on the mountain
slopes, thus giving gravity a plough to open out the valleys; and it is
he who, acting through the ages, will finally lay low these mighty
monuments, rolling them gradually seaward, sowing the seeds of continents
to be; so that the people of an older earth may see mould spread, and corn
wave over the hidden rocks which at this moment bear the weight of the
Jungfrau." And the Alps lie within twenty-four hours of London!

Tyndall's writings also contain many vivid descriptions of glaciers; those
"silent and solemn causeways ... broad enough for the march of an army in
line of battle and quiet as a street of tombs in a buried city." [2] I do
not, however, borrow from him or from any one else any description of
glaciers, for they are so unlike anything else, that no one who has not
seen, can possibly visualize them.

The history of European rivers yet remains to be written, and is most
interesting. They did not always run in their present courses. The Rhone,
for instance, appears to have been itself a great traveler. At least there
seems reasons to believe that the upper waters of the Valais fell at first
into the Danube, and so into the Black Sea; subsequently joined the Rhine
and the Thames, and so ran far north over the plains which once connected
the mountains of Scotland and of Norway--to the Arctic Ocean; and to have
only comparatively of late years adopted their present course into the

But, however this may be, the Rhine of Germany and the Rhine of
Switzerland are very unlike. The catastrophe of Schaffhausen seems to
alter the whole character of the river, and no wonder. "Stand for half an
hour," says Ruskin, "beside the Fall of Schaffhausen, on the north side
where the rapids are long, and watch how the vault of water first bends,
unbroken, in pure polished velocity, over the arching rocks at the brow of
the cataract, covering them with a dome of crystal twenty feet thick, so
swift that its motion is unseen except when a foam globe from above darts
over it like a falling star;... and how ever and anon, startling you with
its white flash, a jet of spray leaps hissing out of the fall, like a
rocket, bursting in the wind and driven away in dust, filling the air with
light; and how, through the curdling wreaths of the restless crushing
abyss below, the blue of the water, paled by the foam in its body, shows
purer than the sky through white rain-cloud; ... their dripping masses
lifted at intervals, like sheaves of loaded corn, by some stronger gush
from the cataract, and bowed again upon the mossy rocks as its roar dies

But much as we may admire the majestic grandeur of a mighty river, either
in its eager rush or its calmer moments, there is something which
fascinates even more in the free life, the young energy, the sparkling
transparence, and merry music of smaller streams.

"The upper Swiss valleys," as the same great Seer says, "are sweet with
perpetual streamlets, that seem always to have chosen the steepest places
to come down, for the sake of the leaps, scattering their handfuls of
crystal this way and that, as the winds take them, with all the grace, but
with none of the formalism, of fountains ... until at last ... they find
their way down to the turf, and lose themselves in that, silently; with
quiet depth of clear water furrowing among the grass blades, and looking
only like their shadow, but presently emerging again in little startled
gushes and laughing hurries, as if they had remembered suddenly that the
day was too short for them to get down the hill."

How vividly does Symonds bring before us the sunny shores of the
Mediterranean, which he loves so well, and the contrast between the
scenery of the North and the South.

"In northern landscapes the eye travels through vistas of leafy boughs to
still, secluded crofts and pastures, where slow-moving oxen graze. The
mystery of dreams and the repose of meditation haunt our massive bowers.
But in the South, the lattice-work of olive boughs and foliage scarcely
veils the laughing sea and bright blue sky, while the hues of the
landscape find their climax in the dazzling radiance of the sun upon the
waves, and the pure light of the horizon. There is no concealment and no
melancholy here. Nature seems to hold a never-ending festival and dance,
in which the waves and sunbeams and shadows join. Again, in northern
scenery, the rounded forms of full-foliaged trees suit the undulating
country, with its gentle hills and brooding clouds; but in the South the
spiky leaves and sharp branches of the olive carry out the defined
outlines which are everywhere observable through the broader beauties of
mountain and valley and sea-shore. Serenity and intelligence characterize
this southern landscape, in which a race of splendid men and women lived
beneath the pure light of Phoebus, their ancestral god. Pallas protected
them, and golden Aphrodite favored them with beauty. Olives are not,
however, by any means the only trees which play a part in idyllic scenery.
The tall stone pine is even more important.... Near Massa, by Sorrento,
there are two gigantic pines so placed that, lying on the grass beneath
them, one looks on Capri rising from the sea, Baiae, and all the bay of
Naples sweeping round to the base of Vesuvius. Tangled growths of olives,
and rose-trees fill the garden-ground along the shore, while far away in
the distance pale Inarime sleeps, with her exquisite Greek name, a virgin
island on the deep.

"On the wilder hills you find patches of ilex and arbutus glowing with
crimson berries and white waxen bells, sweet myrtle rods and shafts of
bay, frail tamarisk and tall tree-heaths that wave their frosted boughs
above your head. Nearer the shore the lentisk grows, a savory shrub, with
cytisus and aromatic rosemary. Clematis and polished garlands of tough
sarsaparilla wed the shrubs with clinging, climbing arms; and here and
there in sheltered nooks the vine shoots forth luxuriant tendrils bowed
with grapes, stretching from branch to branch of mulberry or elm, flinging
festoons on which young loves might sit and swing, or weaving a
lattice-work of leaves across the open shed. Nor must the sounds of this
landscape be forgotten,--sounds of bleating flocks, and murmuring bees,
and nightingales, and doves that moan, and running streams, and shrill
cicadas, and hoarse frogs, and whispering pines. There is not a single
detail which a patient student may not verify from Theocritus.

"Then too it is a landscape in which sea and country are never sundered.
The higher we climb upon the mountain-side the more marvellous is the
beauty of the sea, which seems to rise as we ascend, and stretch into the
sky. Sometimes a little flake of blue is framed by olive boughs, sometimes
a turning in the road reveals the whole broad azure calm below. Or, after
toiling up a steep ascent we fall upon the undergrowth of juniper, and lo!
a double sea, this way and that, divided by the sharp spine of the jutting
hill, jewelled with villages along its shore, and smiling with fair
islands and silver sails."

To many of us the mere warmth of the South is a blessing and a delight.
The very thought of it is delicious. I have read over again and again
Wallace's graphic description of a tropical sunrise--of the "sun of the
early morning that turneth all into gold." [3]

"Up to about a quarter past five o'clock," he says, "the darkness is
complete; but about that time a few cries of birds begin to break the
silence of night, perhaps indicating that signs of dawn are perceptible in
the eastern horizon. A little later the melancholy voices of the
goatsuckers are heard, varied croakings of frogs, the plaintive whistle of
mountain thrushes, and strange cries of birds or mammals peculiar to each
locality. About half-past five the first glimmer of light becomes
perceptible; it slowly becomes lighter, and then increases so rapidly that
at about a quarter to six it seems full daylight. For the next quarter of
an hour this changes very little in character; when, suddenly, the sun's
rim appears above the horizon, decking the dew-laden foliage with
glittering gems sending gleams of golden light far into the woods, and
waking up all nature to life and activity. Birds chirp and flutter about,
parrots scream, monkeys chatter, bees hum among the flowers, and gorgeous
butterflies flutter lazily along or sit with full expanded wings exposed
to the warm and invigorating rays. The first hour of morning in the
equatorial regions possesses a charm and a beauty that can never be
forgotten. All nature seems refreshed and strengthened by the coolness and
moisture of the past night, new leaves and buds unfold almost before the
eye, and fresh shoots may often be observed to have grown many inches
since the preceding day. The temperature is the most delicious
conceivable. The slight chill of early dawn, which was itself agreeable,
is succeeded by an invigorating warmth; and the intense sunshine lights up
the glorious vegetation of the tropics, and realizes all that the magic
art of the painter or the glowing words of the poet have pictured as their
ideals of terrestrial beauty."

Or take Dean Stanley's description of the colossal statues of Amenophis
III., the Memnon of the Greeks, at Thebes--"The sun was setting, the
African range glowed red behind them; the green plain was dyed with a
deeper green beneath them, and the shades of evening veiled the vast rents
and fissures in their aged frames. As I looked back at them in the sunset,
and they rose up in front of the background of the mountain, they seemed,
indeed, as if they were part of it,--as if they belonged to some natural

But I must not indulge myself in more quotations, though it is difficult
to stop. Such extracts recall the memory of many glorious days: for the
advantages of travel last through life; and often, as we sit at home,
"some bright and perfect view of Venice, of Genoa, or of Monte Rosa comes
back on you, as full of repose as a day wisely spent in travel." [4]

So far is a thorough love and enjoyment of travel from interfering with
the love of home, that perhaps no one can thoroughly enjoy his home who
does not sometimes wander away. They are like exertion and rest, each the
complement of the other; so that, though it may seem paradoxical, one of
the greatest pleasures of travel is the return; and no one who has not
roamed abroad, can realize the devotion which the wanderer feels for
Domiduca--the sweet and gentle goddess who watches over our coming home.

[1] Seneca.

[2] Ruskin.

[3] Morris.

[4] Helps.



"There's no place like Home."--_Old English Song_.

It may well be doubted which is more delightful,--to start for a holiday
which has been fully earned, or to return home from one which has been
thoroughly enjoyed; to find oneself, with renewed vigor, with a fresh
store of memories and ideas, back once more by one's own fireside, with
one's family, friends, and books.

"To sit at home," says Leigh Hunt, "with an old folio (?) book of romantic
yet credible voyages and travels to read, an old bearded traveller for its
hero, a fireside in an old country house to read it by, curtains drawn,
and just wind enough stirring out of doors to make an accompaniment to the
billows or forests we are reading of--this surely is one of the perfect
moments of existence."

It is no doubt a great privilege to visit foreign countries; to travel say
in Mexico or Peru, or to cruise among the Pacific Islands; but in some
respects the narratives of early travellers, the histories of Prescott or
the voyages of Captain Cook, are even more interesting; describing to us,
as they do, a state of society which was then so unlike ours, but which
has now been much changed and Europeanized.

Thus we may make our daily travels interesting, even though, like those of
the Vicar of Wakefield, all our adventures are by our own fireside, and
all our migrations from one room to another.

Moreover, even if the beauties of home are humble, they are still
infinite, and a man "may lie in his bed, like Pompey and his sons, in all
quarters of the earth." [1]

It is, then, wise to "cultivate a talent very fortunate for a man of my
disposition, that of travelling in my easy chair; of transporting myself,
without stirring from my parlor, to distant places and to absent friends;
of drawing scenes in my mind's eye; and of peopling them with the groups
of fancy, or the society of remembrance." [2]

We may indeed secure for ourselves endless variety without leaving our own

In the first place, the succession of seasons multiplies every home. How
different is the view from our windows as we look on the tender green of
spring, the rich foliage of summer, the glorious tints of autumn, or the
delicate tracery of winter.

Our climate is so happy, that even in the worst months of the year, "calm
mornings of sunshine visit us at times, appearing like glimpses of
departed spring amid the wilderness of wet and windy days that lead to
winter. It is pleasant, when these interludes of silver light occur, to
ride into the woods and see how wonderful are all the colors of decay.
Overhead, the elms and chestnuts hang their wealth of golden leaves, while
the beeches darken into russet tones, and the wild cherry glows like
blood-red wine. In the hedges crimson haws and scarlet hips are wreathed
with hoary clematis or necklaces of coral briony-berries; the brambles
burn with many-colored flames; the dog-wood is bronzed to purple; and here
and there the spindle-wood puts forth its fruit, like knots of rosy buds,
on delicate frail twigs. Underneath lie fallen leaves, and the brown brake
rises to our knees as we thread the forest paths." [3]

Nay, every day gives us a succession of glorious pictures in never-ending
variety. It is remarkable how few people seem to derive any pleasure from
the beauty of the sky. Gray, after describing a sunrise--how it began with
a slight whitening, just tinged with gold and blue, lit up all at once by
a little line of insufferable brightness which rapidly grew to half an
orb, and so to a whole one too glorious to be distinctly seen--adds, "I
wonder whether any one ever saw it before. I hardly believe it." [4]

No doubt from the dawn of poetry, the splendors of the morning and evening
skies have delighted all those who have eyes to see. But we are especially
indebted to Ruskin for enabling us more vividly to realize these glorious
sky pictures. As he says, in language almost as brilliant as the sky
itself, the whole heaven, "from the zenith to the horizon, becomes one
molten, mantling sea of color and fire; every block bar turns into massy
gold, every ripple and wave into unsullied, shadowless crimson, and
purple, and scarlet, and colors for which there are no words in language,
and no ideas in the mind--things which can only be conceived while they
are visible; the intense hollow blue of the upper sky melting through it
all, showing here deep and pure, and lightness; there, modulated by the
filmy, formless body of the transparent vapor, till it is lost
imperceptibly in its crimson and gold."

It is in some cases indeed "not color but conflagration," and though the
tints are richer and more varied toward morning and at sunset, the
glorious kaleidoscope goes on all day long. Yet "it is a strange thing how
little in general people know about the sky. It is the part of creation in
which Nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more for the sole
and evident purpose of talking to him, and teaching him, than in any other
of her works, and it is just the part in which we least attend to her.
There are not many of her other works in which some more material or
essential purpose than the mere pleasing of man is not answered by every
part of their organization; but every essential purpose of the sky might,
so far as we know, be answer, if once in three days, or thereabouts, a
great, ugly, black rain-cloud were brought up over the blue, and
everything well watered, and so all left blue again till next time, with
perhaps a film of morning and evening mist for dew. And instead of this,
there is not a moment of any day of our lives when Nature is not producing
scene after scene, picture after picture, glory after glory, and working
still upon such exquisite and constant principles of the most perfect
beauty, that it is quite certain it is all done for us, and intended for
our perpetual pleasure." [5]

Nor does the beauty end with the day. "It is nothing to sleep under the
canopy of heaven, where we have the globe of the earth for our place of
repose, and the glories of the heavens for our spectacle?" [6] For my part
I always regret the custom of shutting up our rooms in the evening, as
though there was nothing worth seeing outside. What, however, can be more
beautiful than to "look how the floor of heaven is thick inlaid with
patines of bright gold," or to watch the moon journeying in calm and
silver glory through the night. And even if we do not feel that "the man
who has seen the rising moon break out of the clouds at midnight, has been
present like an Archangel at the creation of light and of the world," [7]
still "the stars say something significant to all of us: and each man has
a whole hemisphere of them, if he will but look up, to counsel and
befriend him"; [8] for it is not so much, as Helps elsewhere observes, "in
guiding us over the seas of our little planet, but out of the dark waters
of our own perturbed minds, that we may make to ourselves the most of
their significance." Indeed,

"How beautiful is night!
A dewy freshness fills the silent air;
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain,
Breaks the serene of heaven:
In full-orbed glory yonder moon divine
Rolls through the dark blue depths;
Beneath her steady ray
The desert circle spreads,
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky;
How beautiful is night!" [9]

I have never wondered at those who worshipped the sun and moon.

On the other hand, when all outside is dark and cold; when perhaps

"Outside fall the snowflakes lightly;
Through the night loud raves the storm;
In my room the fire glows brightly,
And 'tis cosy, silent, warm.

"Musing sit I on the settle
By the firelight's cheerful blaze,
Listening to the busy kettle
Humming long forgotten lays." [10]

For after all the true pleasures of home are not without, but within; and
"the domestic man who loves no music so well as his own kitchen clock and
the airs which the logs sing to him as they burn on the hearth, has
solaces which others never dream of." [11]

We love the ticking of the clock, and the flicker of the fire, like the
sound of the cawing of rooks, not so much for any beauty of their own as
for their associations.

It is a great truth that when we retire into ourselves we can call up what
memories we please.

"How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection recalls them to view.--
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood
And every lov'd spot which my infancy knew." [12]

It is not so much the

"Fireside enjoyments,
And _all the comforts_ of the lowly roof," [13]

but rather, according to the higher and better ideal of Keble,

"Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look,
When hearts are of each other sure;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure."

In ancient times, not only among savage races, but even among the Greeks
themselves, there seems to have been but little family life. What a
contrast was the home life of the Greeks, as it seems to have been, to
that, for instance, described by Cowley--a home happy "in books and
gardens," and above all, in a

"Virtuous wife, where thou dost meet
Both pleasures more refined and sweet;
The fairest garden in her looks
And in her mind the wisest books."

No one who has ever loved mother or wife, sister or daughter, can read
without astonishment and pity St. Chrysostom's description of woman as "a
necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic
peril, a deadly fascination, and a painted ill."

In few respects has mankind made a greater advance than in the relations
of men and women. It is terrible to think how women suffer in savage life;
and even among the intellectual Greeks, with rare exceptions, they seem to
have been treated rather as housekeepers or playthings than as the Angels
who make a Heaven of home.

The Hindoo proverb that you should "never strike a wife, even with a
flower," though a considerable advance, tells a melancholy tale of what
must previously have been.

In _The Origin of Civilization_ I have given many cases showing how small
a part family affection plays in savage life. Here I will only mention one
case in illustration. The Algonquin (North America) language contained no
word for "to love," so that when the missionaries translated the Bible
into it they were obliged to invent one. What a life, and what a language,
without love.

Yet in marriage even the rough passion of a savage may contrast favorably
with any cold calculation, which, like the enchanted hoard of the
Nibelungs, is almost sure to bring misfortune. In the Kalevala, the
Finnish epic, the divine smith, Ilmarinnen, forges a bride of gold and
silver for Wainamoinen, who was pleased at first to have so rich a wife,
but soon found her intolerably cold, for, in spite of fires and furs,
whenever he touched her she froze him.

Moreover, apart from mere coldness, how much we suffer from foolish
quarrels about trifles; from mere misunderstandings; from hasty words
thoughtlessly repeated, sometimes without the context or tone which would
have deprived them of any sting. How much would that charity which
"beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things," effect to smooth away the sorrows of life and add to the
happiness of home. Home indeed may be a sure haven of repose from the
storms and perils of the world. But to secure this we must not be content
to pave it with good intentions, but must make it bright and cheerful.

If our life be one of toil and of suffering, if the world outside be cold
and dreary, what a pleasure to return to the sunshine of happy faces and
the warmth of hearts we love.

[1] Sir T. Browne.

[2] Mackenzie, _The Lounger_.

[3] J. A. Symonds.

[4] Gray's Letters.

[5] Ruskin.

[6] Seneca.

[7] Emerson.

[8] Helps.

[9] Southey.

[10] Heine, trans. by E. A. Bowring.

[11] Emerson.

[12] Woodworth.

[13] Cowper.



"Happy is he that findeth wisdom,
And the man that getteth understanding:
For the merchandise of it is better than silver,
And the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies:
And all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
And in her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace."


Those who have not tried for themselves can hardly imagine how much
Science adds to the interest and variety of life. It is altogether a
mistake to regard it as dry, difficult, or prosaic--much of it is as easy
as it is interesting. A wise instinct of old united the prophet and the
"seer." "The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in
darkness." Technical works, descriptions of species, etc., bear the same
relation to science as dictionaries do to literature.

Occasionally, indeed, Science may destroy some poetical myth of antiquity,
such as the ancient Hindoo explanation of rivers, that "Indra dug out
their beds with his thunderbolts, and sent them forth by long continuous
paths;" but the real causes of natural phenomena are far more striking,
and contain more true poetry, than those which have occurred to the
untrained imagination of mankind.

In endless aspects science is as wonderful and interesting as a fairy

"There are things whose strong reality
Outshines our fairyland; in shape and hues
More beautiful than our fantastic sky,
And the strange constellations which the Muse
O'er her wild universe is skillful to diffuse." [1]

Mackay justly exclaims:

"Blessings on Science! When the earth seemed old,
When Faith grew doting, and our reason cold,
'Twas she discovered that the world was young,
And taught a language to its lisping tongue."

Botany, for instance, is by many regarded as a dry science. Yet though
without it we may admire flowers and trees, it is only as strangers, only
as one may admire a great man or a beautiful woman in a crowd. The
botanist, on the contrary--nay, I will not say the botanist, but one with
even a slight knowledge of that delightful science--when he goes out into
the woods, or into one of those fairy forests which we call fields, finds
himself welcomed by a glad company of friends, every one with something
interesting to tell. Dr. Johnson said that, in his opinion, when you had
seen one green field you had seen all; and a greater even than
Johnson--Socrates--the very type of intellect without science, said he was
always anxious to learn, and from fields and trees he could learn nothing.

It has, I know, been said that botanists

"Love not the flower they pluck and know it not.
And all their botany is but Latin names."

Contrast this, however, with the language of one who would hardly claim to
be a master in botany, though he is certainly a loving student.
"Consider," says Ruskin, "what we owe to the meadow grass, to the covering
of the dark ground by that glorious enamel, by the companies of those
soft, countless, and peaceful spears of the field! Follow but for a little
time the thought of all that we ought to recognize in those words. All
spring and summer is in them--the walks by silent scented paths, the rest
in noonday heat, the joy of the herds and flocks, the power of all
shepherd life and meditation; the life of the sunlight upon the world,
falling in emerald streaks and soft blue shadows, when else it would have
struck on the dark mould or scorching dust; pastures beside the pacing
brooks, soft banks and knolls of lowly hills, thymy slopes of down
overlooked by the blue line of lifted sea; crisp lawns all dim with early
dew, or smooth in evening warmth of barred sunshine, dinted by happy feet,
softening in their fall the sound of loving voices."

My own tastes and studies have led me mainly in the direction of Natural
History and Archaeology; but if you love one science, you cannot but feel
intense interest in them all. How grand are the truths of Astronomy!
Prudhomme, in a sonnet beautifully translated by Arthur O'Shaugnessy, has
pictured an Observatory. He says--

"'Tis late; the astronomer in his lonely height,
Exploring, all the dark, descries afar
Orbs that like distant isles of splendor are."

He notices a comet, and calculating its orbit, finds that it will return
in a thousand years--

"The star will come. It dare not by one hour
Cheat Science, or falsify her calculation;
Men will have passed, but, watchful in the tower,
Man shall remain in sleepless contemplation;
And should all men have perished in their turn,
Truth in their place would watch that star's return."

Ernest Rhys well says of a student's chamber--

"Strange things pass nightly in this little room,
All dreary as it looks by light of day;
Enchantment reigns here when at evening play
Red fire-light glimpses through the pallid gloom."

And the true student, in Ruskin's words, stands on an eminence from which
he looks back on the universe of God and forward over the generations of

Even if it be true that science was dry when it was buried in huge folios,
that is certainly no longer the case now; and Lord Chesterfield's wise
wish, that Minerva might have three graces as well as Venus, has been
amply fulfilled.

The study of natural history indeed seems destined to replace the loss of
what is, not very happily I think, termed "sport;" engraven in us as it is
by the operation of thousands of years, during which man lived greatly on
the produce of the chase. Game is gradually becoming "small by degrees and
beautifully less." Our prehistoric ancestors hunted the mammoth, the
woolly-haired rhinoceros, and Irish elk; the ancient Britons had the wild
ox, the deer, and the wolf. We have still the pheasant, the partridge, the
fox, and the hare; but even these are becoming scarcer, and must be
preserved first, in order that they may be killed afterwards. Some of us
even now--and more, no doubt, will hereafter--satisfy instincts,
essentially of the same origin, by the study of birds, or insects, or even
infusoria--of creatures which more than make up by their variety what they
want in size.

Emerson avers that when a naturalist has "got all snakes and lizards in
his phials, science has done for him also, and has put the man into a
bottle." I do not deny that there are such cases, but they are quite
exceptional. The true naturalist is no mere dry collector.

I cannot resist, although it is rather long, quoting the following
description from Hudson and Gosse's beautiful work on the Rotifera:--

"On the Somersetshire side of the Avon, and not far from Clifton, is a
little combe, at the bottom of which lies an old fish-pond. Its slopes are
covered with plantations of beech and fir, so as to shelter the pond on
three sides, and yet leave it open to the soft south-western breezes, and
to the afternoon sun. At the head of the combe wells up a clear spring,
which sends a thread of water, trickling through a bed of osiers, into the
upper end of the pond. A stout stone wall has been drawn across the combe
from side to side, so as to dam up the stream; and there is a gap in one
corner through which the overflow finds its way in a miniature cascade,
down into the lower plantation.

"If we approach the pond by the gamekeeper's path from the cottage above,
we shall pass through the plantation, and come unseen right on the corner
of the wall; so that one quiet step will enable us to see at a glance its
whole surface, without disturbing any living thing that may be there.

"Far off at the upper end a water-hen is leading her little brood among
the willows; on the fallen trunk of an old beech, lying half way across
the pond, a vole is sitting erect, rubbing his right ear, and the splash
of a beech husk just at our feet tells of a squirrel who is dining
somewhere in the leafy crown above us.

"But see, the water-rat has spied us out, and is making straight for his
hole in the bank, while the ripple above him is the only thing that tells
of his silent flight. The water-hen has long ago got under cover, and the
squirrel drops no more husks. It is a true Silent Pond, and without a sign
of life.

"But if, retaining sense and sight, we could shrink into living atoms and
plunge under the water, of what a world of wonders should we then form
part! We should find this fairy kingdom peopled with the strangest
creatures--creatures that swim with their hair, that have ruby eyes
blazing deep in their necks, with telescopic limbs that now are withdrawn
wholly within their bodies and now stretched out to many times their own
length. Here are some riding at anchor, moored by delicate threads spun
out from their toes; and there are others flashing by in glass armor,
bristling with sharp spikes or ornamented with bosses and flowing curves;
while fastened to a great stem is an animal convolvulus that, by some
invisible power, draws a never-ceasing stream of victims into its gaping
cup, and tears them to death with hooked jaws deep down within its body.

"Close by it, on the same stem, is something that looks like a filmy
heart's-ease. A curious wheelwork runs round its four outspread petals;
and a chain of minute things, living and dead, is winding in and out of
their curves into a gulf at the back of the flower. What happens to them
there we cannot see; for round the stem is raised a tube of golden-brown
balls, all regularly piled on each other. Some creature dashes by, and
like a flash the flower vanishes within its tube.

"We sink still lower, and now see on the bottom slow gliding lumps of
jelly that thrust a shapeless arm out where they will, and grasping their
prey with these chance limbs, wrap themselves round their food to get a
meal; for they creep without feet, seize without hands, eat without
mouths, and digest without stomachs."

Too many, however, still feel only in Nature that which we share "with the
weed and the worm;" they love birds as boys do--that is, they love
throwing stones at them; or wonder if they are good to eat, as the
Esquimaux asked about the watch; or treat them as certain devout Afreedee
villagers are said to have treated a descendant of the Prophet--killed him
in order to worship at his tomb: but gradually we may hope that the love
of Science--the notes "we sound upon the strings of nature" [2]--will
become to more and more, as already it is to many, a "faithful and sacred
element of human feeling."

Science summons us

"To that cathedral, boundless as our wonder,
Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply;
Its choir the winds and waves, its organ thunder,
Its dome the sky." [3]

Where the untrained eye will see nothing but mire and dirt, Science will
often reveal exquisite possibilities. The mud we tread under our feet in
the street is a grimy mixture of clay and sand, soot and water. Separate
the sand, however, as Ruskin observes--let the atoms arrange themselves in
peace according to their nature--and you have the opal. Separate the clay,
and it becomes a white earth, fit for the finest porcelain; or if it still
further purifies itself, you have a sapphire. Take the soot, and if
properly treated it will give you a diamond. While, lastly, the water,
purified and distilled, will become a dew-drop, or crystallize into a
lovely star. Or, again, you may see as you will in any shallow pool either
the mud lying at the bottom, or the image of the heavens above.

Nay, even if we imagine beauties and charms which do not really exist;
still if we err at all it is better to do so on the side of charity; like
Nasmyth, who tells us in his delightful autobiography, that he used to
think one of his friends had a charming and kindly twinkle, and was one
day surprised to discover that he had a glass eye.

But I should err indeed were I to dwell exclusively on science as lending
interest and charm to our leisure hours. Far from this, it would be
impossible to overrate the importance of scientific training on the wise
conduct of life.

"Science," said the Royal Commission of 1861, "quickens and cultivates
directly the faculty of observation, which in very many persons lies
almost dormant through life, the power of accurate and rapid
generalization, and the mental habit of method and arrangement; it
accustoms young persons to trace the sequence of cause and effect; it
familiarizes them with a kind of reasoning which interests them, and which
they can promptly comprehend; and it is perhaps the best corrective for
that indolence which is the vice of half-awakened minds, and which shrinks
from any exertion that is not, like an effort of memory, merely

Again, when we contemplate the grandeur of science, if we transport
ourselves in imagination back into primeval times, or away into the
immensity of space, our little troubles and sorrows seem to shrink into
insignificance. "Ah, beautiful creations!" says Helps, speaking of the
stars, "it is not in guiding us over the seas of our little planet, but
out of the dark waters of our own perturbed minds, that we may make to
ourselves the most of your significance." They teach, he tells us
elsewhere, "something significant to all of us; and each man has a whole
hemisphere of them, if he will but look up, to counsel and befriend him."

There is a passage in an address given many years ago by Professor Huxley
to the South London Working Men's College which struck me very much at the
time, and which puts this in language more forcible than any which I could

"Suppose," he said, "it were perfectly certain that the life and fortune
of every one of us would, one day or other, depend upon his winning or
losing a game of chess. Don't you think that we should all consider it to
be a primary duty to learn at least the names and the moves of the pieces?
Do you not think that we should look with a disapprobation amounting to
scorn upon the father who allowed his son, or the State which allowed its
members, to grow up without knowing a pawn from a knight? Yet it is a very
plain and elementary truth that the life, the fortune, and the happiness
of every one of us, and more or less of those who are connected with us,
do depend upon our knowing something of the rules of a game infinitely
more difficult and complicated than chess. It is a game which has been
played for untold ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two
players in a game of his or her own. The chessboard is the world, the
pieces are the phenomena of the Universe, the rules of the game are what
we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from
us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. But also we
know to our cost that he never overlooks a mistake or makes the smallest
allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well the highest stakes are
paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity which with the strong shows
delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated--without haste,
but without remorse."

I have elsewhere endeavored to show the purifying and ennobling influence
of science upon religion; how it has assisted, if indeed it may not claim
the main share, in sweeping away the dark superstitions, the degrading
belief in sorcery and witchcraft, and the cruel, however well-intentioned,
intolerance which embittered the Christian world almost from the very days
of the Apostles themselves. In this she has surely performed no mean
service to religion itself. As Canon Fremantle has well and justly said,
men of science, and not the clergy only, are ministers of religion.

Again, the national necessity for scientific education is imperative. We
are apt to forget how much we owe to science, because so many of its
wonderful gifts have become familiar parts of our everyday life, that
their very value makes us forget their origin. At the recent celebration
of the sexcentenary of Peterhouse College, near the close of a long
dinner, Sir Frederick Bramwell was called on, some time after midnight, to
return thanks for Applied Science. He excused himself from making a long
speech on the ground that, though the subject was almost inexhaustible,
the only illustration which struck him as appropriate under the
circumstances was "the application of the domestic lucifer to the bedroom
candle." One cannot but feel how unfortunate was the saying of the poet

"The light-outspeeding telegraph
Bears nothing on its beam."

The report of the Royal Commission on Technical Instruction, which has
recently been issued, teems with illustrations of the advantages afforded
by technical instruction. At the same time, technical training ought not
to begin too soon, for, as Bain truly observes, "in a right view of
scientific education the first principles and leading examples, with
select details, of all the great sciences, are the proper basis of the
complete and exhaustive study of any single science." Indeed, in the words
of Sir John Herschel, "it can hardly be pressed forcibly enough on the
attention of the student of Nature, that there is scarcely any natural
phenomenon which can be fully and completely explained in all its
circumstances, without a union of several, perhaps of all, the sciences."
The most important secrets of Nature are often hidden away in unexpected
places. Many valuable substances have been discovered in the refuse of
manufactories; and it was a happy thought of Glauber to examine what
everybody else threw away. There is perhaps no nation the future happiness
and prosperity of which depend more on science than our own. Our
population is over 35,000,000, and is rapidly increasing. Even at present
it is far larger than our acreage can support. Few people whose business
does not lie in the study of statistics realize that we have to pay
foreign countries no less than L140,000,000 a year for food. This, of
course, we purchase mainly by manufactured articles. We hear now a great
deal about depression of trade, and foreign, especially American,
competition, which, let me observe, will be much keener a few years hence,
when the United States have paid off their debt, and consequently reduced

But let us look forward a hundred years--no long time in the history of a
nation. Our coal supplies will then be greatly diminished. The population
of Great Britain doubles at the present rate of increase in about fifty
years, so that we should, if the present rate continues, require to import
over L400,000,000 a year in food. How, then, is this to be paid for? We
have before us, as usual, three courses. The natural rate of increase may
be stopped, which means suffering and outrage; or the population may
increase, only to vegetate in misery and destitution; or, lastly, by the
development of scientific training and appliances, they may probably be
maintained in happiness and comfort. We have, in fact, to make our choice
between science and suffering. It is only by wisely utilizing the gifts of
science that we have any hope of maintaining our population in plenty and
comfort. Science, however, will do this for us if we will only let her.
She may be no Fairy Godmother indeed, but she will richly endow those who
love her.

That discoveries, innumerable, marvellous, and fruitful, await the
successful explorers of Nature no one can doubt. What would one not give
for a Science primer of the next century? for, to paraphrase a well-known
saying, even the boy at the plough will then know more of science than the
wisest of our philosophers do now. Boyle entitled one of his essays "Of
Man's great Ignorance of the Uses of Natural Things; or that there is no
one thing in Nature whereof the uses to human life are yet thoroughly
understood"--a saying which is still as true now as when it was written.
And, lest I should be supposed to be taking too sanguine a view, let me
give the authority of Sir John Herschel, who says: "Since it cannot but be
that innumerable and most important uses remain to be discovered among the
materials and objects already known to us, as well as among those which
the progress of science must hereafter disclose, we may hence conceive a
well-grounded expectation, not only of constant increase in the physical
resources of mankind, and the consequent improvement of their condition,
but of continual accession to our power of penetrating into the arcana of
Nature and becoming acquainted with her highest laws."

Nor is it merely in a material point of view that science would thus
benefit the nation. She will raise and strengthen the national, as surely
as the individual, character. The great gift which Minerva offered to
Paris is now freely tendered to all, for we may apply to the nation, as
well as to the individual, Tennyson's noble lines:--

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control:
These three alone lead life to sovereign power,
Yet not for power (power of herself
Would come uncalled for), but to live by law;
Acting the law we live by without fear."

"In the vain and foolish exultation of the heart," said John Quincy Adams,
at the close of his final lecture on resigning his chair at Boston, "which
the brighter prospects of life will sometimes excite, the pensive portress
of Science shall call you to the sober pleasures of her holy cell. In the
mortification of disappointment, her soothing voice shall whisper serenity
and peace. In social converse with the mighty dead of ancient days, you
will never smart under the galling sense of dependence upon the mighty
living of the present age. And in your struggles with the world, should a
crisis ever occur, when even friendship may deem it prudent to desert you,
when priest and Levite shall come and look on you and pass by on the other
side, seek refuge, my unfailing friends, and be assured you shall find it,
in the friendship of Laelius and Scipio, in the patriotism of Cicero,
Demosthenes, and Burke, as well as in the precepts and example of Him
whose law is love, and who taught us to remember injuries only to forgive

Let me in conclusion quote the glowing description of our debt to science
given by Archdeacon Farrar in his address at Liverpool College--testimony,
moreover, all the more valuable, considering the source from which it

"In this great commercial city," he said, "where you are surrounded by the
triumphs of science and of mechanism--you, whose river is ploughed by the
great steamships whose white wake has been called the fittest avenue to
the palace front of a mercantile people--you know well that in the
achievements of science there is not only beauty and wonder, but also
beneficence and power. It is not only that she has revealed to us infinite
space crowded with unnumbered worlds; infinite time peopled by unnumbered
existences; infinite organisms hitherto invisible but full of delicate and
iridescent loveliness; but also that she has been, as a great Archangel of
Mercy, devoting herself to the service of man. She has labored, her
votaries have labored, not to increase the power of despots or to add to
the magnificence of courts, but to extend human happiness, to economize
human effort, to extinguish human pain. Where of old, men toiled, half
blinded and half naked, in the mouth of the glowing furnace to mix the
white-hot iron, she now substitutes the mechanical action of the viewless
air. She has enlisted the sunbeam in her service to limn for us, with
absolute fidelity, the faces of the friends we love. She has shown the
poor miner how he may work in safety, even amid the explosive fire-damp of
the mine. She hits, by her anaesthetics, enabled the sufferer to be hushed
and unconscious while the delicate hand of some skilled operator cuts a
fragment from the nervous circle of the unquivering eye. She points not to
pyramids built during weary centuries by the sweat of miserable nations,
but to the lighthouse and the steamship, to the railroad and the
telegraph. She has restored eyes to the blind and hearing to the deaf. She
has lengthened life, she has minimized danger, she has controlled madness,
she has trampled on disease. And on all these grounds, I think that none
of our sons should grow up wholly ignorant of studies which at once train
the reason and fire the imagination, which fashion as well as forge, which
can feed as well as fill the mind."

[1] Byron.

[2] Emerson.

[3] H. Smith.



"No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the
vantage ground of truth."--BACON.

"Divine Philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbed as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets
Where no crude surfeit reigns."--MILTON.

It may seem rather surprising to include education among the pleasures of
life; for in too many cases it is made odious to the young, and is
supposed to cease with school; while, on the contrary, if it is to be
really successful it must be suitable, and therefore interesting, to
children, and must last through life. The very process of acquiring
knowledge is a privilege and a blessing. It used to be said that there was
no royal road to learning; it would be more true to say that the avenues
leading to it are all royal.

"It is not," says Jeremy Taylor, "the eye that sees the beauties of
heaven, nor the ear that hears the sweetness of music, or the glad tidings
of a prosperous accident; but the soul that perceives all the relishes of
sensual and intellectual perceptions: and the more noble and excellent the
soul is, the greater and more savory are its perceptions. And if a child
behold the rich ermine, or the diamonds of a starry night, or the order of
the world, or hears the discourses of an apostle; because he makes no
reflex act on himself and sees not what he sees, he can have but the
pleasure of a fool or the deliciousness of a mule."

Herein lies the importance of education. I say education rather than
instruction, because it is far more important to cultivate the mind than
to store the memory. Studies are a means and not an end. "To spend too
much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is
affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a
scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience.... Crafty
men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them." [1]

Moreover, though, as Mill says, "in the comparatively early state of human
development in which we now live, a person cannot indeed feel that
entireness of sympathy with all others which would make any real
discordance in the general direction of their conduct in life impossible,"
yet education might surely do more to root in us the feeling of unity with
our fellow-creatures. At any rate, if we do not study in this spirit, all
our learning will but leave us as weak and sad as Faust.

"I've now, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine and Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labor studied through,
And here I stand, with all my lore
Poor fool, no wiser than before." [2]

Our studies should be neither "a couch on which to rest; nor a cloister in
which to promenade alone; nor a tower from which to look down on others;
nor a fortress whence we may resist them; nor a workshop for gain and
merchandise; but a rich armory and treasury for the glory of the creator
and the ennoblement of life." [3]

For in the noble words of Epictetus, "you will do the greatest service to
the state if you shall raise, not the roofs of the houses, but the souls
of the citizens: for it is better that great souls should dwell in small
houses rather than for mean slaves to lurk in great houses."

It is then of great importance to consider whether our present system of
education is the one best calculated to fulfil these great objects. Does
it really give that love of learning which is better than learning itself?
Does all the study of the classics to which our sons devote so many years
give any just appreciation of them; or do they not on leaving college too
often feel with Byron--

"Then farewell, Horace; whom I hated so!"

Too much concentration on any one subject is a great mistake, especially
in early life. Nature herself indicates the true system, if we would but
listen to her. Our instincts are good guides, though not infallible, and
children will profit little by lessons which do not interest them. In
cheerfulness, says Pliny, is the success of our studies--"studia
hilaritate proveniunt"--and we may with advantage take a lesson from
Theognis, who, in his Ode on the Marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia, makes
the Muses sing:

"What is good and fair,
Shall ever be our care;
Thus the burden of it rang,
That shall never be our care,
Which is neither good nor fair.
Such were the words your lips immortal sang."

There are some who seem to think that our educational system is as good as
possible, and that the only remaining points of importance are the number
of schools and scholars, the question of fees, the relation of voluntary
and board schools, etc. "No doubt," says Mr. Symonds, in his _Sketches in
Italy and Greece_, "there are many who think that when we not only
advocate education but discuss the best system we are simply beating the
air; that our population is as happy and cultivated as can be, and that no
substantial advance is really possible. Mr. Galton, however, has expressed
the opinion, and most of those who have written on the social condition of
Athens seem to agree with him, that the population of Athens, taken as a
whole, was as superior to us as we are to Australian savages."

That there is, indeed, some truth in this, probably no student of Greek
history will deny. Why, then, should this be so? I cannot but think that
our system of education is partly responsible.

Manual and science teaching need not in any way interfere with instruction
in other subjects. Though so much has been said about the importance of
science and the value of technical instruction, or of hand-training, as I
should prefer to call it, it is unfortunately true that in our system of
education, from the highest schools downward, both of them are sadly
neglected, and the study of language reigns supreme.

This is no new complaint. Ascham, in _The Schoolmaster_, long ago lamented
it; Milton, in his letter to Mr. Samuel Hartlib, complained "that our
children are forced to stick unreasonably in these grammatick flats and
shallows;" and observes that, "though a linguist should pride himself to
have all the tongues Babel cleft the world into, yet, if he have not
studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he
were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man as any yeoman or
tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only;" and Locke said
that "schools fit us for the university rather than for the world."
Commission after commission, committee after committee, have reiterated
the same complaint. How then do we stand now?

I see it indeed constantly stated that, even if the improvement is not so
rapid as could be desired, still we are making considerable progress. But
is this so? I fear not. I fear that our present system does not really
train the mind, or cultivate the power of observation, or even give the
amount of information which we may reasonably expect from the time devoted
to it.

Sir M. E. Grant-Duff has expressed the opinion that a boy or girl of
fourteen might reasonably be expected to "read aloud clearly and
agreeably, to write a large distinct round hand, and to know the ordinary
rules of arithmetic, especially compound addition--a by no means universal
accomplishment; to speak and write French with ease and correctness, and
have some slight acquaintance with French literature; to translate _ad
aperturam libri_ from an ordinary French or German book; to have a
thoroughly good elementary knowledge of geography, under which are
comprehended some notions of astronomy--enough to excite his curiosity; a
knowledge of the very broadest facts of geology and history--enough to
make him understand, in a clear but perfectly general way, how the larger
features of the world he lives in, physical and political, came to be like
what they are; to have been trained from earliest infancy to use his
powers of observation on plants, or animals, or rocks, or other natural
objects; and to have gathered a general acquaintance with what is most
supremely good in that portion of the more important English classics
which is suitable to his time of life; to have some rudimentary
acquaintance with drawing and music."

To effect this, no doubt, "industry must be our oracle, and reason our
Apollo," as Sir T. Browne says; but surely it is no unreasonable estimate;
yet how far do we fall short of it? General culture is often deprecated
because it is said that smatterings are useless. But there is all the
difference in the world between having a smattering of, or being well
grounded in, a subject. It is the latter which we advocate--to try to
know, as Lord Brougham well said, "everything of something, and something
of everything."

"It can hardly," says Sir John Herschel, "be pressed forcibly enough on
the attention of the student of nature, that there is scarcely any natural
phenomenon which can be fully and completely explained, in all its
circumstances, without a union of several, perhaps of all, the sciences."

The present system in most of our public schools and colleges sacrifices
everything else to classics and arithmetic. They are most important
subjects, but ought not to exclude science and modern languages. Moreover,
after all, our sons leave college unable to speak either Latin or Greek,
and too often absolutely without any interest in classical history or
literature. But the boy who has been educated without any training in
science has grave reason to complain of "knowledge to one entrance quite
shut out."

By concentrating the attention, indeed, so much on one or two subjects, we
defeat our own object, and produce a feeling of distaste where we wish to
create an interest.

Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of
book-learning--the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the
memory instead of cultivating the mind. The children in our elementary
schools are wearied by the mechanical act of writing, and the interminable
intricacies of spelling; they are oppressed by columns of dates, by lists
of kings and places, which convey no definite idea to their minds, and
have no near relation to their daily wants and occupations; while in our
public schools the same unfortunate results are produced by the weary
monotony of Latin and Greek grammar. We ought to follow exactly the
opposite course with children--to give them a wholesome variety of mental
food, and endeavor to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their
minds with dry facts. The important thing is not so much that every child
should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.
What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A
boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have
forgotten almost all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a
thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach
himself more than the first ever knew. Children are by nature eager for
information. They are always putting questions. This ought to be
encouraged. In fact, we may to a great extent trust to their instincts,
and in that case they will do much to educate themselves. Too often,
however, the acquirement of knowledge is placed before them in a form so
irksome and fatiguing that all desire for information is choked, or even
crushed out; so that our schools, in fact, become places for the
discouragement of learning, and thus produce the very opposite effect from
that at which we aim. In short, children should be trained to observe and
to think, for in that way there would be opened out to them a source of
the purest enjoyment for leisure hours, and the wisest judgment in the
work of life.

Another point in which I venture to think that our system of education
might be amended, is that it tends at present to give the impression that
everything is known.

Dr. Busby is said to have kept his hat on in the presence of King Charles,
that the boys might see what a great man he was. I doubt, however, whether
the boys were deceived by the hat; and am very skeptical about Dr. Busby's
theory of education.

Master John of Basingstoke, who was Archdeacon of Leicester in 1252,
learned Greek during a visit to Athens, from Constantina, daughter of the
Archbishop of Athens, and used to say afterwards that though he had
studied well and diligently at the University of Paris, yet he learned
more from an Athenian maiden of twenty. We cannot all study so pleasantly
as this, but the main fault I find with Dr. Busby's system is that it
keeps out of sight the great fact of human ignorance.

Boys are given the impression that the masters know everything. If, on the
contrary, the great lesson impressed on them was that what we know is as
nothing to what we do not know, that the "great ocean of truth lies all
undiscovered before us," surely this would prove a great stimulus, and
many would be nobly anxious to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge,
and extend the intellectual kingdom of man. Philosophy, says Aristotle,
begins in wonder, for Iris is the child of Thaumas.

Education ought not to cease when we leave school; but if well begun
there, will continue through life.

Moreover, whatever our occupation or profession in life may be, it is most
desirable to create for ourselves some other special interest. In the
choice of a subject every one should consult his own instincts and
interests, I will not attempt to suggest whether it is better to pursue
art or science; whether we should study the motes in the sunbeam, or the
heavenly bodies themselves. Whatever may be the subject of our choice, we
shall find enough, and more than enough, to repay the devotion of a
lifetime. Life no doubt is paved with enjoyments, but we must all expect
times of anxiety, of suffering, and of sorrow; and when these come it is
an inestimable comfort to have some deep interest which will, at any rate
to some extent, enable us to escape from ourselves.

"A cultivated mind," says Mill--"I do not mean that of a philosopher, but
any mind to which the fountains of knowledge have been opened, and which
has been taught in any tolerable degree to exercise its faculties--will
find sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it; in the
objects of nature, the achievements of art, the imaginations of poetry,
the incidents of history, the ways of mankind, past and present, and their
prospects in the future. It is possible, indeed, to become indifferent to
all this, and that too without having exhausted a thousandth part of it;
but only when one has had from the beginning no moral or human interest in
these things, and has sought in them only the gratification of curiosity."

I have been subjected to some good-natured banter for having said that I
looked forward to a time when our artisans and mechanics would be great
readers. But it is surely not unreasonable to regard our social condition
as susceptible of great improvement. The spread of schools, the cheapness
of books, the establishment of free libraries will, it may be hoped,
exercise a civilizing and ennobling influence. They will even, I believe,
do much to diminish poverty and suffering, so much of which is due to
ignorance and to the want of interest and brightness in uneducated life.
So far as our elementary schools are concerned, there is no doubt much
difficulty in apportioning the National Grant without unduly stimulating
mere mechanical instruction. But this is not the place to discuss the
subject of religious or moral training, or the system of apportioning the

If we succeed in giving the love of learning, the learning itself is sure
to follow.

We should therefore endeavor to educate our children so that every country
walk may be a pleasure; that the discoveries of science may be a living
interest; that our national history and poetry may be sources of
legitimate pride and rational enjoyment. In short, our schools, if they
are to be worthy of the name--if they are to fulfil their high
function--must be something more than mere places of dry study; they must
train the children educated in them so that they may be able to appreciate
and enjoy those intellectual gifts which might be, and ought to be, a
source of interest and of happiness, alike to the high and to the low, to
the rich and to the poor.

A wise system of education will at least teach us how little man yet
knows, how much he has still to learn; it will enable us to realize that
those who complain of the tiresome monotony of life have only themselves
to blame; and that knowledge is pleasure as well as power. It will lead us
all to try with Milton "to behold the bright countenance of truth in the
quiet and still air of study," and to feel with Bacon that "no pleasure is
comparable is the standing upon the vantage ground of truth."

We should then indeed realize in part, for as yet we cannot do so fully,
the "sacred trusts of health, strength, and time," and how thankful we
ought to be for the inestimable gift of life.

[1] Bacon.

[2] Goethe.

[3] Bacon.





"And what is writ is writ--
Would it were worthier."


Herewith I launch the conclusion of my subject. Perhaps I am unwise in
publishing a second part. The first was so kindly received that I am
running a risk in attempting to add to it.

In the preface, however, to the first part I have expressed the hope that
the thoughts and quotations in which I have found most comfort and
delight, might be of use to others also.

In this my most sanguine hopes have been more than realized. Not only has
the book passed through thirteen editions in less than two years, but the
many letters which I have received have been most gratifying.

Two criticisms have been repeated by several of those who have done me the
honor of noticing my previous volume. It has been said in the first place
that my life has been exceptionally bright and full, and that I cannot
therefore judge for others. Nor do I attempt to do so. I do not forget, I
hope I am not ungrateful for, all that has been bestowed on me. But if I
have been greatly favored, ought I not to be on that very account
especially qualified to write on such a theme? Moreover, I have had,--who
has not,--my own sorrows.

Again, some have complained that there is too much quotation--too little
of my own. This I take to be in reality a great compliment. I have not
striven to be original.

If, as I have been assured by many, my book have proved a comfort, and
have been able to cheer in the hour of darkness, that is indeed an ample
reward, and is the utmost I have ever hoped.


KENT, _April 1889_.



"Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble minds)
To scorn delights and live laborious days."




If fame be the last infirmity of noble minds, ambition is often the first;
though, when properly directed, it may be no feeble aid to virtue.

Had not my youthful mind, says Cicero, "from many precepts, from many
writings, drunk in this truth, that glory and virtue ought to be the
darling, nay, the only wish in life; that, to attain these, the torments
of the flesh, with the perils of death and exile, are to be despised;
never had I exposed my person in so many encounters, and to these daily
conflicts with the worst of men, for your deliverance. But, on this head,
books are full; the voice of the wise is full; the examples of antiquity
are full: and all these the night of barbarism had still enveloped, had it
not been enlightened by the sun of science."

The poet tells us that

"The many fail: the one succeeds." [1]

But this is scarcely true. All succeed who deserve, though not perhaps as
they hoped. An honorable defeat is better than a mean victory, and no one
is really the worse for being beaten, unless he loses heart. Though we may
not be able to attain, that is no reason why we should not aspire.

I know, says Morris,

"How far high failure overleaps the bound
Of low successes."

And Bacon assures us that "if a man look sharp and attentively he shall
see fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible."

To give ourselves a reasonable prospect of success we must realize what we
hope to achieve; and then make the most of our opportunities. Of these the
use of time is one of the most important. What have we to do with time,
asks Oliver Wendell Holmes, but to fill it up with labor.

"At the battle of Montebello," said Napoleon, "I ordered Kellermann to
attack with 800 horse, and with these he separated the 6000 Hungarian
grenadiers before the very eyes of the Austrian cavalry. This cavalry was
half a league off, and required a quarter of an hour to arrive on the
field of action; and I have observed that it is always these quarters of
an hour that decide the fate of a battle," including, we may add, the
battle of life.

Nor must we spare ourselves in other ways, for

"He who thinks in strife
To earn a deathless fame, must do, nor ever care for life." [2]

In the excitement of the struggle, moreover, he will suffer comparatively
little from wounds and blows which would otherwise cause intense

It is well to weigh scrupulously the object in view, to run as little risk
as may be, to count the cost with care.

But when the mind is once made up, there must be no looking back, you must
spare yourself no labor, nor shrink from danger.

"He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch
To gain or lose it all." [3]

Glory, says Renan, "is after all the thing which has the best chance of
not being altogether vanity." But what is glory?

Marcus Aurelius observes that "a spider is proud when it has caught a fly,
a man when he has caught a hare, another when he has taken a little fish
in a net, another when he has taken wild boars, another when he has taken
bears, and another when he has taken Sarmatians;" [4] but this, if from
one point of view it shows the vanity of fame, also encourages us with the
evidence that every one may succeed if his objects are but reasonable.

Alexander may be taken as almost a type of Ambition in its usual form,
though carried to an extreme.

His desire was to conquer, not to inherit or to rule. When news was
brought that his father Philip had taken some town, or won some battle,
instead of appearing delighted with it, he used to say to his companions,
"My father will go on conquering, till there be nothing extraordinary left
for you and me to do." [5] He is said even to have been mortified at the
number of the stars, considering that he had not been able to conquer one
world. Such ambition is justly foredoomed to disappointment.

The remarks of Philosophers on the vanity of ambition refer generally to
that unworthy form of which Alexander may be taken as the type--the idea
of self-exaltation, not only without any reference to the happiness, but
even regardless of the sufferings, of others.

"A continual and restless search after fortune," says Bacon, "takes up too
much of their time who have nobler things to observe." Indeed he elsewhere
extends this, and adds, "No man's private fortune can be an end any way
worthy of his existence."

Goethe well observes that man "exists for culture; not for what he can
accomplish, but for what can be accomplished in him." [6]

As regards fame we must not confuse name and essence. To be remembered is
not necessarily to be famous. There is infamy as well as fame; and
unhappily almost as many are remembered for the one as for the other, and
not a few for the mixture of both.

Who would not rather be forgotten, than recollected as Ahab or Jezebel,
Nero or Commodus, Messalina or Heliogabalus, King John or Richard III.?

"To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history. The
Canaanitish woman lives more happily without a name than Herodias with
one; and who would not rather have been the good thief than Pilate?" [7]

Kings and Generals are often remembered as much for their deaths as for
their lives, for their misfortunes as for their successes. The Hero of
Thermopylae was Leonidas, not Xerxes. Alexander's Empire fell to pieces at
his death. Napoleon was a great genius, though no Hero. But what came of
all his victories? They passed away like the smoke of his guns, and he
left France weaker, poorer, and smaller than he found her. The most
lasting result of his genius is no military glory, but the Code Napoleon.

A surer and more glorious title to fame is that of those who are
remembered for some act of justice or self-devotion: the self-sacrifice of
Leonidas, the good faith of Regulus, are the glories of history.

In some cases where men have been called after places, the men are
remembered, while the places are forgotten. When we speak of Palestrina or
Perugino, of Nelson or Wellington, of Newton or Darwin, who remembers the
towns? We think only of the men.

Goethe has been called the soul of his century.

It is true that we have but meagre biographies of Shakespeare or of Plato;
yet how much we know about them.

Statesmen and Generals enjoy great celebrity during their lives. The
newspapers chronicle every word and movement. But the fame of the
Philosopher and Poet is more enduring.

Wordsworth deprecates monuments to Poets, with some exceptions, on this
very account. The case of Statesmen, he says, is different. It is right to
commemorate them because they might otherwise be forgotten; but Poets live
in their books forever.

The real conquerors of the world indeed are not the generals but the
thinkers; not Genghis Khan and Akbar, Rameses, or Alexander, but Confucius
and Buddha, Aristotle, Plato, and Christ. The rulers and kings who reigned
over our ancestors have for the most part long since sunk into
oblivion--they are forgotten for want of some sacred bard to give them
life--or are remembered, like Suddhodana and Pilate, from their
association with higher spirits.

Such men's lives cannot be compressed into any biography. They lived not
merely in their own generation, but for all time. When we speak of the
Elizabethan period we think of Shakespeare and Bacon, Raleigh and Spenser.
The ministers and secretaries of state, with one or two exceptions, we
scarcely remember, and Bacon himself is recollected less as the Judge than
as the Philosopher.

Moreover, to what do Generals and Statesmen owe their fame? They were
celebrated for their deeds, but to the Poet and the Historian they owe
their fame, and to the Poet and Historian we owe their glorious memories
and the example of their virtues.

"Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
Multi; sed omnes illacrimabiles
Urgentur ignotique longa
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro."

There were many brave men before Agamemnon, but their memory has perished
because they were celebrated by no divine Bard. Montrose happily combined
the two, when in "My dear and only love" he promises,

"I'll make thee glorious by my pen,
And famous by my sword."

It is remarkable, and encouraging, how many of the greatest men have risen
from the lowest rank, and triumphed over obstacles which might well have
seemed insurmountable; nay, even obscurity itself may be a source of
honor. The very doubts as to Homer's birthplace have contributed to this
glory, seven cities as we all know laying claim to the great poet--

"Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Salamis, Rhodos, Argos, Athenae."

To take men of Science only. Ray was the son of a blacksmith, Watt of a
shipwright, Franklin of a tallow-chandler, Dalton of a handloom weaver,
Frauenhofer of a glazier, Laplace of a farmer, Linnaeus of a poor curate,
Faraday of a blacksmith, Lamarck of a banker's clerk; Davy was an
apothecary's assistant, Galileo, Kepler, Sprengel, Cuvier, and Sir W.
Herschel were all children of very poor parents.

It is, on the other hand, sad to think how many of our greatest
benefactors are unknown even by name. Who discovered the art of procuring
fire? Prometheus is merely the personification of forethought. Who
invented letters? Cadmus is a mere name.

These inventions, indeed, are lost in the mists of antiquity, but even as
regards recent progress the steps are often so gradual, and so numerous,
that few inventions can be attributed entirely, or even mainly, to any one

Columbus is said, and truly said, to have discovered America, though the
Northmen were there before him.

We Englishmen have every reason to be proud of our fellow-countrymen. To
take Philosophers and men of Science only, Bacon and Hobbes' Locke and
Berkeley, Hume and Hamilton, will always be associated with the progress
of human thought; Newton with gravitation, Adam Smith with Political
Economy, Young with the undulatory theory of light, Herschel with the
discovery of Uranus and the study of the star depths, Lord Worcester,
Trevethick, and Watt with the steam-engine, Wheatstone with the electric
telegraph, Jenner with the banishment of smallpox, Simpson with the
practical application of anaesthetics, and Darwin with the creation of
modern Natural History.

These men, and such as these, have made our history and moulded our
opinions; and though during life they may have occupied, comparatively, an
insignificant space in the eyes of their countrymen, they became at length
an irresistible power, and have now justly grown to a glorious memory.

[1] Tennyson.

[2] Beowulf.

[3] Montrose.

[4] He is referring here to one of his expeditions.

[5] Plutarch.

[6] Emerson.

[7] Sir J. Browne.



"The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of



Ambition often takes the form of a love of money. There are many who have
never attempted Art or Music, Poetry or Science; but most people do
something for a livelihood, and consequently an increase of income is not
only acceptable in itself, but gives a pleasant feeling of success.

Doubt is often expressed whether wealth is any advantage. I do not myself
believe that those who are born, as the saying is, with a silver spoon in
their mouth, are necessarily any the happier for it. No doubt wealth
entails almost more labor than poverty, and certainly more anxiety. Still
it must, I think, be confessed that the possession of an income, whatever
it may be, which increases somewhat as the years roll on, does add to the
comfort of life.

Unquestionably the possession of wealth is by no means unattended by
drawbacks. Money and the love of money often go together. The poor man, as
Emerson says, is the man who wishes to be rich; and the more a man has,
the more he often longs to be richer. Just as drinking often does but
increase thirst; so in many cases the craving for riches does grow with

This is, of course, especially the case when money is sought for its own
sake. Moreover, it is often easier to make money than to keep or to enjoy
it. Keeping it is dull and anxious drudgery. The dread of loss may hang
like a dark cloud over life. Apicius, when he squandered most of his
patrimony, but had still 250,000 crowns left, committed suicide, as Seneca
tells us, for fear he should die of hunger.

Wealth is certainly no sinecure. Moreover, the value of money depends
partly on knowing what to do with it, partly on the manner in which it is

"Acquire money, thy friends say, that we also may have some. If I can
acquire money and also keep myself modest, and faithful, and magnanimous,
point out the way, and I will acquire it. But if you ask me to love the
things which are good and my own, in order that you may gain things that
are not good, see how unfair and unwise you are. For which would you
rather have? Money, or a faithful and modest friend....

"What hinders a man, who has clearly comprehended these things, from
living with a light heart, and bearing easily the reins, quietly expecting
everything which can happen, and enduring that which has already happened?
Would you have me to bear poverty? Come, and you will know what poverty is
when it has found one who can act well the part of a poor man." [1]

We must bear in mind Solon's answer to Croesus, "Sir, if any other come
that hath better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold."

Midas is another case in point. He prayed that everything he touched might
be turned into gold, and this prayer was granted. His wine turned to gold,
his bread turned to gold, his clothes, his very bed.

"Attonitus novitate mali, divesque miserque,
Effugere optat opes, et quae modo voverat, odit."

He is by no means the only man who has suffered from too much gold.

The real truth I take to be that wealth is not necessarily an advantage,
but that whether it is so or not depends on the use we make of it. The

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