Obrázky na stránke

Thomas Carlyle and His Works. (Reprinted from Graham's Magazine, March, 1847. One of the richest and most suggestive criticisms of Carlyle.)

*TYNDALL, JOHN. New Fragments. New York, 1892. Personal Recollections of Thomas Carlyle. (Contains an interesting account of Carlyle's Edinburgh Address.) On Unveiling the Statue of Thomas Carlyle. WHITMAN, WALT. Complete Prose Works. Boston, 1898. Death of Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle from an American Point of View.


Mr. Froude and Carlyle. New York, 1898. (Marshals the important criticisms of Froude's biography.) WYLIE, W. H. Thomas Carlyle. The Man and His Books. London, 1881.

Correspondence and Reminiscences

COPELAND, C. T. (Ed.) Letters of Thomas Carlyle to his Youngest Sister. Boston, 1899.

FROUDE, J. A. (ED.) Letters and Memorials of Jane Baillie Welsh Carlyle; Prepared for Publication by Thomas Carlyle. New York, 1883. Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849. New York, 1882.

NORTON, C. E. (ED.) Correspondence of Carlyle and Emerson,
Boston, 1883. Supplementary
Correspondence of Goethe and
Reminiscences. 2 vols. in 1.

1834-1872. 2 vols.
Letters. Boston, 1886.
Carlyle. London, 1887.
London, 1887.

Sook for alone for quotation.

sentences while might stand


[Edinburgh Review, No. XCVI. DECEMBER, 1828] to p.21


IN the modern arrangements of society, it is no uncommon thing that a man of genius must, like Butler, ask for bread and receive a stone'; for, in spite of our grand maxim of supply and demand, it is by no means the highest excellence that men are 5 most forward to recognize. The inventor of a spinning-jenny is pretty sure of his reward in his own day; but the writer of a true poem, like the apostle of a true religion, is nearly as sure of the contrary. We do not know whether it is not an aggravation of Ic the injustice, that there is generally a posthumous retribution. Robert Burns, in the course of Nature, might yet have been living; but his short life was spent in toil and penury; and he died, in the prime of his manhood, miserable and neglected: and yet 15 already a brave mausoleum shines over his dust, and more than one splendid monument has been reared in other places to his fame; the street where he lan

guished in poverty is called by his name; the highest personages in our literature have been proud to appear as his commentators and admirers; and here is the sixth narrative of his Life that has been given to the ; world!

Mr. Lockhart thinks it necessary to apologize for this new attempt on such a subject: but his readers, we believe, will readily acquit him; or, at worst, will censure only the performance of his task, not the Io choice of it. The character of Burns, indeed, is a theme that cannot easily become either trite or exhausted; and will probably gain rather than lose in its dimensions by the distance to which it is removed by Time. No man, it has been said, is a hero to his 15 valet; and this is probably true; but the fault is at least as likely to be the valet's as the hero's. For it is certain that to the vulgar eye few things are wonderful that are not distant. It is difficult for men to believe that the man, the mere man whom they see, 20 nay, perhaps painfully feel, toiling at their side through the poor jostlings of existence, can be made of finer clay than themselves. Suppose that some dining acquaintance of Sir Thomas Lucy's, and neighbor of John a Combe's,° had snatched an hour or two from the preservation of his game, and written us a Life of



[ocr errors]


Shakespeare! What dissertations should we not have had, - not on Hamlet and The Tempest, but on the wool-trade, and deer-stealing, and the libel and vagrant laws; and how the Poacher became a Player; and how Sir Thomas and Mr. John had Christian bowels, and 5 did not push him to extremities! In like manner, we believe, with respect to Burns, that till the companions of his pilgrimage, the Honorable Excise Commissioners, and the Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt, and the Dumfries Aristocracy, and all the Squires and Earls, 10 equally with the Ayr Writers, and the New and Old Light Clergy, whom he had to do with, shall have become invisible in the darkness of the Past, or visible only by light borrowed from his juxtaposition, it will be difficult to measure him by any true standard, or to 15 estimate what he really was and did, in the eighteenth century, for his country and the world. It will be dif ficult, we say; but still a fair problem for literary historians; and repeated attempts will give us repeated approximations.


[ocr errors]


His former Biographers have done something, no doubt, but by no means a great deal, to assist us. Dr. Currie and Mr. Walker, the principal of these writers, have both, we think, mistaken one essentially important thing: Their own and the world's true relation 25

« PredošláPokračovať »