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SPECIMEN OF THACKERAY'S PROSE.

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from him, but if not, to give him resignation to submit. He then burst into tears, and his reason again fled.

What preacher need moralize on this story; what words save the simplest are requisite to tell it? It is too terrible for tears. The thought of such a misery smites me down in submission before the Ruler of kings and men, the Monarch Supreme over empires and republics, the inscrutable Dispenser of life, death, happiness, victory. "O brothers," I said to those who heard me first in America—“O brothers ! speaking the same dear mother tongue-o comrades ! enemies no more, let us take a mournful hand together as we stand by this royal corpse, and call a truce to battle ! Low he lies to whom the proudest used to kneel once, and who was cast lower than the poorest : dead, whom millions prayed for in vain. Driven off his throne; buffeted by rude hands; with his children in revolt; the darling of his old age killed before him untimely; our Lear hangs over her breathless lips and cries, 'Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little !'

Vex not his ghost-oh! let him pass—he hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world

Stretch him out longer!' Hush, Strife and Quarrel, over the solemn grave! Sound, Trumpets, a mourn. sul.march. Fall, Dark Curtain, upon his pageant, his pride, his grief, his awful tragedy !"

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EARLY LIFE OF CARLYLE.

CHAPTER X.

THOMAS CARLYLE.

Born 1795 A.D.......... Still living, 1869 A.D.

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It has been said that Thomas Carlyle thinks in German; whicb, without looking too closely into its metaphysical accuracy, may be accepted as a brief character of his remarkable mind. From the leading German writers his thoughts have caught their deepest colouring, and his style some of its most startling qualities. No English classic possesses a more strongly marked individuality on paper than does this latest of the great names of our varied and wealthy literature.

Born on the 4th of December 1795, in the parish of Middlebie in Dumfries-shire, he enjoyed the incalculable blessing of wise and pious parents in that honest farmer and farmer's wife whom he called father and mother. After attending school at Annan he passed to the University of Edinburgh, where his earnest mind was devoted chiefly to mathematical studies under Leslie. The thoughtful student became for a while a teacher, as mathematical master in a Fifeshire school, and afterwards as tutor to Charles Buller. His parents had destined him for the Church. But neither the school-room nor the pulpit was his fitting sphere. Literature soon attracting him with resistless power, he began that career of authorship which has placed his name among the first in English literature. Some short biographies for Brewster's “Edinburgh Encyclo

pædia," among which were Montesquieu, Montaigne, 1823 Nelson, The Pittsa trac.slation of Legendre's Geometry

—and, more important than any of these, as an early

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LIFE AT CRAIGENPUTTOCH.

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indication of the future direction of his thoughts, a translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, —were the literary labours of 1823, his first year of pen-work.

A Life of Schiller, published by scattered chapters in the “London Magazine,” and afterwards enlarged, was the second fruit of this Scottish sapling grafted upon German thought. It appeared in 1825 as a separate volume. During the same year the author became a married man with other resources than those of brain

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For several years Craigenputtoch, a small estate about fifteen miles north-west of Dumfries,-a patch of corn-land nestling among trees in the middle of the black Galloway moors, -was the congenial home of this great man, whose mind, prone by nature and by habit to dwell apart, “wrapped in the solitude of its own criginality,” flamed out occasionally from its hermit-cell upon the shams and flunkeyism of that seething world, whose roar lay beyond the swelling granite hills. In this lonely nook he wrote several things for the Reviews, among which Characteristics and Burns in the “Edinburgh," and Goëthe in the "Foreign Quarterly," are notable. His estimate of Burns is remarkable for its sympathetic justice, and its straightforward recognition in the poet of a true manhood, swathed in wretched environments. And not less is it remarkable as our finest specimen of Carlyle's earlier manner, before he had laid aside the conventional forms of English speech for that language of splintered fire, rapid and sudden as the forked lightning, and often as jagged too, which we find in his later works.

But Sartor Resartus (The Patcher Repatched) was the principal result of the quiet thoughtfulness-by study-fire or on pony's back — to which the Craigenputtoch life was chiefly given up. Professing to be a review of a German work on dress, it is in reality a philosophical essay, illustrating in a very original and powerful style the transce lentalism of Fichte. Professor Diogenes Teufelsdröckh is the imaginary mouthpiece, through which Carlyle inveighs against the old clothes of falsehood and conventionalism that smother and conceal a Diving idea lying wrapped in

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THE FRENCH REVOLUTION."

A.D.

the centre of our human life. So odd the subject and apparently grotesque the style, that London publishers looked very shy at the offered manuscript, which could find its way to the public only in fragments through the pages of “Fraser's Magazine” (1833-34).

The year 1837 is the central point in Carlyle's literary life, for then appeared The French Revolution, a History, written as no history had ever been written before. All the scenes in that wonderful tale of blood and tears flash out upon our gaze, as we read, with a startling vividness and distinctness of outline, entirely unlike the way in which the stately pictures of Gibbon and Macaulay grow upon the unfolding canvas, and thoroughly in keeping with the wild hurry and seeming disjointedness of the tumultuous time. Carlyle's pen has not yet outdone this brilliant historic piece. But it must not be forgotten, that those

who wish to know all the minutice of the French Revolu1837 tion, must supplement their reading of Carlyle's "History"

with the study of calmer works, which aim, not so much

at fixing on the mind with bright sun-darts a succession of indelible photographs, as at heaping together with quiet and careful industry all the details of the tremendous drama. Defiant of critical canons, and regarding that stately pomp of diction which some think “the dignity of history” requires, as an intolerable sham, this hater of old clothes works out his own ideas in his own way-paints with a brush of daring lawlessness—is minute at one time, even to the wart on a hero's eyebrow, at another so, broad in his treatment that a single dash of colour depicts a man-violates every propriety of conventional art, historical perspective excepted—fills his pages with abrupt and startling apostrophes—often flings together a bundle of words, which, upon cool analysis, we find to be a mass of disjointed notes—drives at full swing through all school-notions of logical order and grammatical arrangement, scattering right and left into ignominious exile nominatives and verbs, articles and pronouns,—and yet strikes so surely to the brain and heart, that his pictures, printed with an instantaneous flash, live on the mental retina for ever.

The delivery of certain courses of Lectures on German Litera

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ture,—The Revolutions of Modern Europe,—and Heroes, HeroWorship, and the Heroic in History (1840), combined with the production of a tract on Chartism (1839) and an historical contrast, entitled Past and Present (1843), filled up eight years between the publication of the “French Revolution and the

appearance of a second great work.

That work is entitled The Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, with Elucidations. A vast heap of materials, collected with painful patience from all sources, “fished up,” as the collector tells us, "from foul Lethean quagmires, and washed clean from foreign stupidities—such a job of buck-washing as I do not long to repcat,”—was given to the world in fair order and modernized form, the great Puritan being made to speak from the dead past with his own voice and pen. This book, however, is no mere edition of Cromwell's works. What he modestly calls, “ Elucidations,” the setting of these rough recovered gems, are brilliant specimens of Carlyle's historic style. His portraiture of the great Oliver, and his battle-piece of Dunbar, are well worthy 1845 of the pencil which drew Mirabeau and Marie Antoinette, the storming of the Bastille, and the shrill drumled march of the Paris women to Versailles. That substratum of the Puritan or old Covenanter in his character, to'which Leigh Hunt and Hannay make allusion, kindled into volcanic flame when Cromwell formed his theme. He is, indeed, himself a literary Cromwell, waging sternest war with all the force of an earnest soul against modern humbug, untruth, and noisy pretension. No wonder that this soldier of the pen, among the stanchest of our century, looking back across two hundred years of history, should recognise natural royalty in the craggy brow, solid frame, and iron soul of a Huntingdon farmer who could lead armies to certain triumphi and dissolve a senate with the stamping of his foot. An electric sympathy linked the two: true manhood sharpened Cromwell's sword and true manhood guides Carlyle's pen.

The toppling thrones and surging peoples of the disastrous year 1848 stirred the impulsive oracle to a vehement utterance. The Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) assailed with most galling invec(15)

32

A.D.

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