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highest forms now existing), or in the em- subordinated to the higher imaginative and bryonic series (i. e., from the egg to the æsthetic faculties, which culminate in youth mature condition of one of the highest ani- and dominate this period in life. Then as mals), we find successively higher systems, or these decline, they are subordinated to the organs, dominating the animal body. First, still higher faculties of productive thought, the highest system dominates, viz., the ner- characteristic of mature manhood. These, vous system, then, in the nervous system the also, as they decline, must become subordihighest organ dominates, viz., the brain; nated to the still higher moral and religious then, as we go still higher, the highest sentiments, which culminate only in old age, ganglion of the brain dominates, viz., the but if duly cultivated never decline until cerebrum; and lastly, in the cerebrum, the ready to commence evolution on a still highest part, viz., the exterior gray matter, higher plane.1 The first group of faculties dominates more and more, as shown by the gathers and stores the materials of knowlincreasing complexity of the convolutions. edge; the second group vitalizes the materials The whole process may be called cephaliza- thus gathered, and makes them suitable for tion, or head development. It is a develop the purposes of the third, which uses them ment head-ward, brain-ward, cerebrum-ward, in the construction of the temple of science; and the dominance of ever higher and while the fourth and highest group dedicates higher forms of force.
the whole to noble purposes, and thus gives c. Now, what is true of the external mate- all their true significance. Thus the whole rial world—the macrocosm—is true also of man becomes not only higher and higher, the inner world—the microcosm; what is true but also more and more complexly organof the body (for the body belongs to the ma- ized in his spiritual nature. crocosm), is true also of the spirit. All evo- But observe: if there be a law of succeslution is cephalization. The evolution of the sive culmination, there i; also a law-and if organic kingdom is a cephalization finding not wisely used, a fearful law-of successive its head in man; the evolution of society is decline; and thereby a necessity is laid upon a cephalization finding its head and king in us of continued evolution by culture to the the ideal man-the divine man; the evolu- end. We dare not stop; evolution does not, tion of the human body is a cephalization will not, stand still. If it goes not forward, finding its head in the brain. So, also, the it inevitably goes backward, and may do so evolution of the human spirit is and must at any stage of its advance. Childhoodbe a cephalization, and must find its goal beautiful, joyous childhood-how beautiful, and completion in the dominance of the and yet how fleeting! Its characteristic highest part-must find its head and king in faculties cannot remain in full vigor; they conscience. All the threads of my argument must decline. If evolution does not conconverge here. I must enforce and illustrate tinue—if the higher faculties characteristic of this point fully.
youth do not arise and subordinate these to We have already seen that culture is only higher purposes, the whole nature deteriovoluntary evolution. Evolution is universal, rates from that time; the glory of life passes but material evolution is blind and uncon- away with childhood. Youth-glorious scious. Man alone perceives the law, and youth-it, too, must quickly pass. If evovoluntarily carries forward and accelerates lution or culture (voluntary or involuntary) the process by rational methods. This is does not continue, if the still higher faculty culture. Normal evolution (and therefore of productive thought does not arise, grow culture) of the mind follows a law precisely strong, and subordinate all lower faculties to similar to that already traced in the lower departments of nature. First in childhood 1 I say never decline. I mean, of course, so far as
concerns a law of pure spiritual growth. It declines, if culminate the perceptive faculties and the
at all, only through breaking down of the instrument memory.
As these decline, they become (brain tissue) through which it operates.
itself, the whole nature deteriorates from under the dominion of natural forces, but that moment, either becoming materialized, also and pre-eminently under the dominion vulgarized, brutalized, as we so often see in of rational forces. All nature evolves unyoung men, or else fading away and perish- consciously under the play of material forces, ing of inanition, as we so often find in young which are but different forms of the omni
Thus the young buds of a noble present divine energy; and according to humanity either grow into unsightly forms, material laws---which are the laws of Godor else shrivel and die, as under the touch of man alone, if he would reach this true goal, untimely frost. Finally, manhood—strong must be a co-worker with nature. He must manhood, with its pride of intellect and understand the law and its goal, and delibplenitude of will—it, alas, must also decline: erately use the means of reaching it. In a the law is inexorable. If the moral nature word, his true ideal will not and cannot be has not all along been gathering force, and if realized except by voluntary effort, accordit do not now rise above all other parts of our ing to true law. Every culture which does complex nature, subordinating all to itself and not follow this true law is false in method. its higher purposes, then, indeed, must com- Every culture which has not this ideal in mence the final and saddest deterioration of view fails—miserably fails—of its true end. all; then, indeed, must old age become the A true culture must strive to subordinate pitiable and humiliating spectacle which we the lower to the higher, and all to the highso often find it. But if the law of evolution est—the body to the mind, the lower faculcompletes itself, if the moral nature rises ties of the intellect to the higher, and all to and continues to rise to the last, until it the moral and religious sentiments. Here, dominates every faculty of mind and body, also, as in all evolution, the lower underlies then is old age the most beautiful part of and conditions the higher; but the higher human life; then is it a thing not to be must stand above and subordinate the pitied, but to be loved and venerated. Then lower. is the course of human life like the course Thus the process of a true culture and of the sun—if not the brightest, at least the its result may be fitly likened to the building most glorious in its setting.
and completion of a splendid temple, with Thus, then, of all the departments of our its massive foundation, its stately walls, and complex nature, the moral alone increases its glorious roof and spires. Let us, then, and brightens to the last. It is the link lay well the foundation, deep in the earth of which connects our present life with the life our bodies, in the solid rock of physical beyond the veil, and its undiminished culture, in physical health, strength, and brightness to the end a sure pledge of its activity. Thousands stop the work here; continuance hereafter. As the glories of but let us not imitate their folly. the departing sun are a pledge and a surety next build up the stately walls in intellectual that he will come again—"trick his beams culture, in a mind strong, active, and versawith new spangled ore and flame in the tile. Alas, how many stop the work just forehead of the morning sky”-even so the here, imagining that it is now finished ! moral splendors of a good life closing are a How many a beautiful edifice is disfigured pledge and a surety that that life will flame by a mean and paltry roof! Let us avoid again in the morning sky of an eternal day. this mistake also. Let us add thereto the
This, then, is the law of evolution of our crowning glory of all—the sky-lighted dome spiritual nature, and this the glorious result. and the heaven-pointing spires; and then But the evolution of man differs from all dedicate all only to noblest purpose, as a other evolutions in this: it is not wholly holy temple to the living God.
ALFRED TENNYSON, POET LAUREATE.
"Mein Lied ertönt der unbekannten Menge;
Ihr Beifall selbst macht meinem Herzen bang." Has a Californian, as such, any literary plentiful as village Cromwells, and not always right to discuss belles-lettres in print? And as guiltless in their particular pose. Has if
yea, is a Californian magazine discreet in not the poor, pale corpse of the Lily Maid publishing such discussion? It has been a been bandied about among us of the Pacific question with me, now that I have sisted my coast as recklessly as if it were a mummy in facts and collated reviews extending over a a museum, or a “stiff” on an express train? period of fifty years, whether there has not Who shall say that we do not know our poet been too much written by those better ad- intimately? and what is there that a prosy esvised touching the Poet Laureate to warrant sayist out here can tell us in that behalf? any addition to the mass from this corner of And yet, one feels that there is a certain
Common honesty demands, at sediment of méfiance pervading the half-culall events, that one should disavow any pre- tured strata of the American reading public, tense of originality, and say only that which which hinders the Englishman's verse from may be Aanked by citation and supported thorough assimilation with the popular Amerby decisions; and it is therefore with hesi- ican nature. It is almost as if a taste for tancy that I approach the work, and with a Tennyson were an exotic, requiring greendoubt as to its adding to the vigor or impres- house fastidiousness to protect it from rude siveness of our magazine. One feels much republican northers. as some literary Gascon in the days of the This literary symptom (not, however, Pleiad might have felt in fumbling over ques- exactly confined to Tennyson) has been tions of French language or rhythm secluded growing apparent in the last twenty years. from Parisian sympathy by his provincial Former generations not only courted British exile.
culture, but found it a necessity. To-day But a poet's reputation is, after all, a sort there is arising an actual aversion to British of meteorological fact, which, as it were, re- ideas—at least, in what may be called the quires reported observations from a large superficial literary populace. expanse of surface; and in many stations The fact is, Great Britain is becoming these become the duty of unpretentious sub- foreign to us. Like the Irish, our literary alterns; and the world of literature is no state is conspiring for Home Rule, and clamlonger Paris or London, but the “Great ors for a parliament of its own. We dislike Globe itself.”
to be thought to speak the English rather
than the American language. Even in our Tennyson enjoys at least a titular popular- pronunciation and modulation, there is a ity in America. If that needed confirma- sibboleth apparent; and we gird at the Brittion, the unremitting piracy of his works isher who has not our speech, however prowould furnish it. In one or more forms, vincial it be, just as country louts they may be found in all polite households; amused at a stranger's costume or special charming ladies the world over will, if urged, habits of body. Usages once common to gratify you by singing his lyrics; clever, pen- both lands are fast wearing out with us; niless young bachelors everywhere will, when and a time would seem to be coming when jūted, mouth stanzas of Locksley Hall; and English and American, once identical, chaps with ill-balanced hearts, who have be- will be to each other as Japanese unto come unhappily spooney about their friends' Chinese. wives, will half imagine themselves Lancelots An evidence of the divergence between or Tristrams; while village Guineveres are as the two countries is furnished by the fading
popularity (regard being had to the increase instruction which distance and a murky of population and relative greater percentage literary atmosphere have almost weakened to of general readers) of English authors once unintelligibility. I would like to discuss as eagerly conned in America as in the land Tennyson in the light in which cultivated of their domicile. This partly arises from people in his own country regard him and the confused ideas of superficially educated his works, as shown by commentators in Americans as to British customs, usages, magazines or published volumes. and local terms—a defect which renders the reading of British writers a matter of painful The life of Alfred Tennyson has not been thought, more or less clogged with igno- one of startling events.
There are no rance and uncertainty as to the allusions. I prominent facts in his career hurtled about do not think Scott as popular in America as as literary gossip which would render his formerly; Burns is actually archaic; and biography a dramatic poem. Save for the Hogg requires more than a glossary even to fact that he is a poet and poet laureate, his smartish people who are ordinarily swift to existence has been passed in the elegant catch the slang current in bar-rooms and obscurity affected by cultured Englishmen mining camps, as crystallized in local or who keep out of politics. humorous journalism.
His poetry, in one sense, is not egoistic; All this is a weakness to be deplored. If and he has shrunk from breaking up the our literature had become so broad and privacy of his life to build the materials into deep by reason of its Longfellows, its Haw- the structure of his poetic reputation. thornes, its Irvings, its Howellses, and But for all that, everything that we need its Holmeses, there might be ground for na- to know or perhaps ought to wish to know tional pride in our literary progress; but the of Tennyson is in his writings, if we will but generation that knows not Joseph also “read between the lines.” For that matter, forgets Joseph's brethren and sympathizers I would challenge any man with the slightest on this side the ocean; and is apt to be sat- claim to frankness to write anything at all isfied with thought, poetry, or humor scent- without confessing some portion of his ing of no higher taste than might be bred in nature. I remember how a gentleman of the cabin of the Arkansas Traveler. The old California days came to his death by literature chosen to supplant English models shipwreck. His general reputation had must be better, not worse, than what has been of decidedly misanthropic acerbity. been cast upon us by British descent. None gave him credit for especial warmth of
Then, too, it happens that, while we are feeling. Yet with death not a quarter of an moving farther from British influence, we hour away, he attempted an autographic will, are drawing closer to lands which foster the of half a dozen lines, which, by its kindalienation. Our young folks are running ness of tone towards children, strangers to the risk of knowing more about Zola than his blood, and towards collaterals, by the about Thackeray; and our æsthetic ladies preciseness of his chirography and punctuaare more interested in Mademoiselle de tion, by the aptness of terms, and the fact Maupin than in the Vicar of Wakefield's that one of them was Scotch, gave indirectOlivia. And yet they might draw a personally the materials for a biography of a frosty benefit from the good taste and elegance of but kindly nature, bred in the Land o' Cakes, Goldy, which their quavering knowledge of in a lawyer's office, thence transferred to a foreign tongue must ever be a barrier to journalist duties on a distant shore, of as their finding or appreciating in Gautier. heroic a soul as one would expect to dwell
If, therefore, I sermonize a while about an in the breast of even the vieux militaire author whom all ought to appreciate, gentle who sank with him. In like manner, one or simple, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, might compose a charming history of Tenit is but to repeat an Old-World echo of nyson by stringing together verses from his
There poems; and one might also branch out and their friends calls them.2 show not only what has been, but what Charles, who afterward took the surname might have been a feature wanting in most of Turner, Frederick, Septimus, Edward, biographies. One might mistake a detail Horatio, and Arthur; and there were two here and there, it is true; but the general sisters who likewise made girlish attempts at truth would be told.
One can readily picture the youth of the ALFRED TENNYSON was born August 5th, poet spent in an English rectory, swarming 1809, at Somersby, a village in Mid-Lincoln- with sisterly and cousinly maidens; such, shire. Even Americans have heard of the doubtless, as Trollope and the artists who Lincolnshire Fens; and every poem of Ten- have illustrated Trollope have depicted for nyson's youth tells of some feature of the No ordinary nature could pass through scenery of the land, the verdure and foliage that sort of training without a certain wincof meadow, marsh, and wood, the brook ing softness that would give tone to his that flows by Somersby, the mill upon it, whole after-existence. It may, therefore, be
noted that all of Tennyson's heroines, of “ The sandy tracts, And the hollow ocean ridges roaring into cataracts.”
whatever race, time, or clime, are, morally,
just such people as one would likely meet For here the German ocean has full sweep, in an English country house on long, sumand seems to enjoy its revels. It is in Lin
mer days, book in hand, or in a parish colnshire that the poet has laid the scene of church at Christmas-tide, helping the curate his latest drama, “ The Promise of May." with the evergreens, or flirting in demure
Tennyson's father, Dr. George Clayton style with the lads home from college or Tennyson, was rector of the parish of London. Somersby. The poet's mother was the
Tennyson's father was a man of accomdaughter of the Rev. Stephen Fytche.
plishments—more, perhaps, than of scholarTennyson comes of gentle stock. Indeed, ship or of theological propensities. He was some of the collateral branches must have
an athlete, a musician, a linguist.3 It would been quite tenacious and precise in the mat
seem that the poet learned Italian to some ter of their claims in that regard. There extent-possibly induced by his father. are, I believe, extinct baronies lying around, those days, there was a breeze of revival of here and there, in the family history. interest in Italian letters, owing to the fact Those Englishmen are proud of nothing so that England had become a refuge for a much as springing from an old county fam- number of lettered revolutionists, such as ily; and I have no doubt but that Tenny- Foscolo, Panizzi, and Rossetti; and Tennyson has a proper weakness that way, befitting son's short-lived friend Hallam was gliding a man who need not be his own grandfather, into the Tuscan groove of culture, with no and who is grandfather to others.
mean promise of future effectiveness and course, he has his quiet thrusts at pride of honor in that direction. 4 birth; but behind them remains, evidently,
Tennyson's status in life pointed vaguely the feeling which, while covered by indiffer- to the Anglican church as his possible vocaence to the pomps of heraldry, borders on
tion; but it was fortunate that he escaped satisfaction that he, also, might, had he being a parson. I fancy that his brother willed it so,
Charles would have lived a more rounded "Somewhere beneath his own low range of roofs and complete life had he never taken Have also set his many-shielded tree.” 1 orders. Besides, one never sees Reverend
before an author's name without expecting The entire Tennysonian household were poets—"a nest of nightingales," as one of
2 S. C. Hall's Book of Gems.
3 Howitt, 1847. 1 Aylmer's Field.
4 Hallam's Remains.