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rnia





HISTORY



OF



ENGLISH LITERATURE




/





STANDARD EDITION

HISTORY



OF



ENGLISH LITERATURE



BY H. A. TAINE, D. C. L



Translated from the French by H. Van Laun



ILL USTRA TED



VOLUME IV



PHILADELPHIA
HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY



Copyright 1908 by Howard E. Altemus.



CONTENTS.

BOOK IV. MODERN LIFE.

CHAPTER II.

3Lorb Boron.

run

L The Man Family Impassioned character Pre-
cocious loves Life of excess Combative charac-
ter Revolt against opinion English Bard*
and Scotch Reviewers Bravado and rashness
Marriage Extravagance of adverse opinion
Departure Political life in Italy Sorrows and
violence .......

IL The poet Reasons for writing Manner of writing
How his poetry is personal Classical taste
How this gift served him Ghilde Harold The
hero The scenery The style . 13

ill. His short poems Oratorical manner Melodramatic
effects Truth of his descriptions of scenery
Sincerity of sentiments Pictures of sad and
extreme emotions Dominant idea of death and
despair Mazeppa, The Prisoner of Chilian, The
Siege of Corinth, The Corsair, Lara Analogy of
this conception with the Edda and Shakspeare
Darknest . , 22



2230748



vi CONTENTS.

MM

IV. Manfred Comparison of Manfred and Faust Con-

ception of legend and life in Goethe Symbolical
and philosophical character of Faust Wherein
Byron is inferior to Goethe Wherein he is
superior Conception of character and action in
Byron Dramatic character of his poem Con-
trast between the universal and the personal
poet 34

V. Scandal in England Constraint and hypocrisy of

manners How and by what law moral con-
ceptions vary Life and morals of the south
Beppo Don Juan Transformation of Byron's
talent and style Picture of sensuous beauty and
happiness Haide*e How he combats British
cant Human hypocrisy His idea of man Of
woman Donna Julia The shipwreck The
capture of Ismail Naturalness and variety of
his style Excess and wearing out of his poetic
vein His drama Departure for Greece, and

death 47

vi. Position of Byron in his age Disease of the age
Divine conceptions of happiness and life The
conception of such happiness by literature By
the sciences Future stability of reason Modern
conception of nature 66



CHAPTER III.

ftfae $a0t anb the present.

1.

The past The Saxon invasion How it established
the race and determined the character The
Norman Conquest- How it modified the charac-
ter and established the Constitution , 70



CONTENTS. vii

nun

n. The Renaissance How it manifested the national
mind The Reformation How it fixed the ideal
The Restoration How it imported classical
culture and misled the national mind The
Revolution How it developed classical culture
and restored the national mind . . .73
in. The modern age How European ideas widened the

national mould 78

2.
I. The present Concordances of observation and history

Sky Soil Products Man . . .81
II Commerce Industry ..... 90

in. Agriculture 97

rv. Society Family Arts Philosophy Religion . 103
v. What forces have produced the present civilisation,

and are working out the future civilisation . 110



BOOK V. MODERN AUTHORS

INTRODUCTORY NOTE . . . ^ .113

CHAPTER I.

2Tfje abel Bicfcens.

1. THE AUTHOR.

L Connection of the different elements of each talent

Importance of the imaginative faculty . . 117

IL Lucidity and intensity of imagination in Dickens
Boldness and vehemence of his fancy How
with him inanimate objects are personified and
impassioned Wherein his conception is akin
to intuition How he describes idiots and mad-
men . . . . . . .118



riii CONTENTS.

PA an

in. The objects to which he directs his enthusiasm
His trivialities and minuteness Wherein he
resembles the painters of his country Wherein
he differs from George Sand Miss Ruth and
Genevieve A journey in a coach . . 129

IV. Vehemence of the emotions which this kind of
imagination must produce His pathos Stephen,
the factory hand His humour Why he attains
to buffoonery and caricature Recklessness and
nervous exaggeration of his gaiety . . .133

2. THE PUBLIC.

I. English novels are compelled to be moral Wherein

this constraint modifies the idea of love Com-
parison of love in George Sand and Dickens
Pictures of the young girl and the wife
Wherein this constraint qualifies the idea of
passion Comparison of passions in Balzac and
Dickens Inconvenience of this foregone conclu-
sion How comic or odious masks are substituted
for natural characters Comparison of Pechmff
and Tartvffe Why unity of action is absent in
Dickens 142

3. THE CHARACTERS.

L Two classes of characters Natural and instinctive
characters Artificial and positive characters
Preference of Dickens for the first Aversion
against the second . . . . .150

II. The hypocrite Mr. Pecksniff" Wherein he is Eng-

lish Comparison of Pecksniff and Tartnffe The
positive man Mr. Gradgrind The proud man
Mr. Dombey Wherein these characters are
English 151



CONTENTS. ix

PAGB

1IL Children Wanting in French literature Little
Joas and David Copperfield Men of the lower
orders ........ 159

IV. The ideal man according to Dickens Wherein this
conception corresponds to a public need Opposi-
tion of culture and nature in England Reasser-
tion of sensitiveness and instinct oppressed by
conventionalism and rule Success of Dickens . 163



CHAPTEK II.

continue*!



L Abundance and excellence of novels of manners in
England Superiority of Dickens and Thackeray

Comparison between them . . . .165

1. THE SATIRIST.

II. The satirist His moral intentions His moral dis-

sertations . . . . . . .166

III. Comparison of raillery in France and England

Difference of the two temperaments, tastes, and
minds ........ 173

IV. Superiority of Thackeray in bitter and serious satire

Serious irony Literary snobs Miss Blanche
Amory Serious caricature Miss Hoggarty . 176

Y. Solidity and precision of this satirical conception
Resemblance of Thackeray and Swift The duties
of an ambassador ...... 185

VL Misanthropy of Thackeray Silliness of his heroines

Silliness of love Inbred vice of human gen-
erosities and exaltations . . . . .188

vn. His levelling tendencies A want of characters and
society in England Aversions and preferences

The snob and the aristocrat Portraits of the



x CONTENTS.

MM

king, the great court uoble, the county gentle-
man, the town gentleman Advantages of this
aristocratic institution Exaggeration of the
satire 191

2. THE ARTIST.

vni. The artist Idea of pure art Wherein satire injures
art Wherein it diminishes the interest Where-
in it falsifies the characters Comparison of
Thackeray and Balzac Valerie Marneffe and
Rebecca Sharp 205

DL Attainment of pure art Portrait of Henry Esmond
Historical talent of Thackeray Conception of
ideal man 214

x. Literature is a definition of man The definition
according to Thackeray Wherein it differs from
the truth 224

CHAPTEE III.

Criticism anto ^istoro. ffiaraulag.

i. The vocation and position of Macaulay in England . 227

n. His Essays Agreeable character and utility of the
style Opinions Philosophy. Wherein it is
English and practical His Essay on Bacon The
true object, according to him, of the sciences
Comparison of Bacon with the ancients . . 228

in. His criticism Moral prejudices Comparison of
criticism in France and England Why he is
religious Connection of religion and Liberalism
in England Macaulay's Liberalism Euay on
Church and State 233

iv. His passion for political liberty How he is the ora-
tor and historian of the Whig party Essays on
the Revolution and the Stuarts .... 238



CONTENTS. XI

MM

T. His talent Taste for demonstration Taste for
development Oratorical character of his mind

Wherein he differs from classic orators His
estimation for particular facts, experiment on the
senses, personal reminiscences Importance of
decisive phenomena in every branch of knowledge

Essays on Warren Hastings and Clive . . 243
vi. English marks of his talent Rudeness Humour

Poetry ........ 255

vn. His work Harmony of his talent, opinion, and
work Universality, unity, interest of his history

Picture of the Highlands James II. in Ireland

The Act of Toleration The Massacre of Glencoe

Traces of amplification and rhetoric . . 263
vm. Comparison of Macaulay with French historians

Wherein he is classical Wherein he is English

Intermediate position of his mind between the
Latin and the Germanic mind. . . . 282



CHAPTEE IV.

ant>



1. STYLE AND MIND.
ECCENTRIC AND IMPORTANT POSITION OF CARLYLE IN ENGLANIV

I. His strangenesses, obscurities, violence Fancy and

enthusiasm Crudeness and buffooneries . . 285

II. Humour Wherein it consists It is Germanic

Grotesque and tragic pictures Dandies and Poor
Slaves The Pigs' Catechism Extreme tension
of his mind and nerves . . . . .291

in. Barriers which hold and direct him Perception of

the real and of the sublime .... 300

IV. His passion for exact and demonstrated fact His
search after extinguished feelings Vehemence



xii CONTENTS.

PAGE

of his emotion and sympathy Intensity of belief
and vision Past and Present Cromwelts Letters
and Speeches Historical mysticism Grandeur
and sadness of his visions How he represents
the world after his own mind .... 301
V. Every object is a group, and every employment of
human thought is the reproduction of a group
Two principal modes of reproducing it, and two
principal modes of mind Classification Intui-
tion Inconvenience of the second process It is
obscure, hazardous, destitute of proofs It tends
to affectation and exaggeration Hardness and
presumption which it provokes Advantages of
this kind of mind Alone capable of reproducing
the object Most favourable to original invention
The use made of it by Carlyle . . . 307

2. VOCATION.

INTRODUCTION OF GERMAN IDEAS IN EUROPE AND ENGLAND
GERMAN STUDIES OF CARLYLE.

I. Appearance of original forms of mind How they act

and result Artistic genius of the Renaissance
Oratorical genius of the classic age Philosophi-
cal genius of the modern age Probable analogy
of the three ages -313

II. Wherein consists the modern and German form of

mind How the aptitude for universal ideas has
renewed the science of language, mythology,
aesthetics, history, exegesis, theology, and meta-
physics How the metaphysical bent has trans-
formed poetry 314

in. Capital idea, derived thence Conception of essential
and complementary parts New conception of
nature and man 316

iv. Inconvenience of this aptitude Gratuitous hypo-



CONTENTS. xiii

PAOB

thesis and vague abstraction Transient discredit

of German speculations . . . . .318

v. How each nation may re-forge them Ancient ex-
amples : Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries The Puritans and Jansenists in the
seventeenth century France in the eighteenth
century By what roads these ideas may enter
France Positivism Criticism . . .319

vi. By what roads these ideas may enter England Exact
and positive mind Impassioned and poetic in-
spiration Road followed by Carlyle . . 320

3. PHILOSOPHY, MORALITY, AND CRITICISM.
HIS METHOD IS MORAL, NOT SCIENTIFIC WHEREIN HE

RESEMBLES THE PURITANS SARTOR RESARTUS.

I. Sensible things are but appearances Divine and
mysterious character of existence His meta-
physics ... ... 323

ii. How we may form into one another, positive, poetic,
spiritualistic, and mystical ideas How in Carlyle
German metaphysics are altered into English
Puritanism ....... 328

in. Moral character of this mysticism Conception of

duty Conception of God .... 330

iv. Conception of Christianity Genuine and conven-
tional Christianity Other religions Limit and
scope of doctrine . . . . . .331

v. Criticism What weight it gives to writers What
class of writers it exalts What class of writers
it depreciates His aesthetics His judgment of
Voltaire 335

VI. Future of Criticism Wherein it is contrary to the
prejudices of the age and of its vocation Taste
has but a relative authority .... 338



xiv CONTENTS.

4. CONCEPTION OF HISTORY.

MM

I. Supreme importance of great men They are re-

vealers They must be venerated . . .340

n. Connection between this and the German conception
Wherein Carlyle is imitative Wherein he is
original Scope of his conception . . .342

in. How genuine history is that of heroic sentiments

Genuine historians are artists and psychologists 343

IT. His history of Cromwell Why it is only composed
of texts connected by a commentary Its novelty
and worth How we should consider Cromwell
and the Puritans Importance of Puritanism in
modern civilisation Carlyle admires it unre-
servedly ....... 345

v. His history of the French Revolution Severity of
his judgment Wherein he has sight of the truth,
and wherein he is unjust .... 349

vi. His judgment of modern England Against the taste
for comfort and the lukewarmness of convictions
Gloomy forebodings for the future of modern
democracy Against the authority of votes
Monarchical theory . . . . .351

Til. Criticism of these theories Dangers of enthusiasm

Comparison of Carlyle and Macaulay . .355



CHAPTER V.

. Stuart



I. Philosophy in England Organisation of positive

science Lack of general ideas . . .357

ii. Why metaphysics are wanting Authority of Re-

ligion ........ 358

in. Indications and splendour of free thought New



CONTENTS. xv

PAOB

exegesis Stuart Mill His works His order
of mind To what school of philosophers he
belongs Value of higher speculation in human
civilisation 360

1. EXPERIENCE.

L Object of logic Wherein it is distinguished from

psychology and metaphysics .... 362

II. What is a judgment? What do we know of the
external and inner worlds 1 The whole object of
science is to add cr connect facts . . . 364

in. The system based on this view of the nature of our

knowledge 369

IV. Theory of definitions Its importance Refutation
of the old theory There are no definitions of
things, but of names only .... 370

v. Theory of proof Ordinary theory Its refutation
What is the really fundamental part of a
syllogism ? 374

VI. Theory of axioms Ordinary theory Its refutation
Axioms are only truths of experience of a
certain class . ..... 379

vii. Theory of induction The cause of a fact is only its
invariable antecedent Experience alone proves
the stability of the laws of nature What is a
law ? By what methods are laws discovered ?
The methods of agreement, of differences, of
residues, of concomitant variations . . . 382

VIIL Examples and applications Theory of dew . . 390

ix. Deduction Its province and method . . . 395

x. Comparison of the methods of induction and deduc-
tion Ancient employment of the first Modern
use of the second Sciences requiring the first
Science -i requiring the second Positive character
of Mill's work His predecessors . . . 397



xvi CONTENTS.

PAGE

u. Limits of our knowledge It is not certain that all
events happen according to laws Chance in
nature 400

2. ABSTRACTION.

L Agreement of this philosophy with the English mind
Alliance of the positive and religious spirits
By what faculty we arrive at the knowledge of
causation ....... 405

II. There are no substances or forces, but only facts and
laws Abstraction '-Its nature Its part in
science ....... 407

in. Theory of definitions They explain the abstract

generating elements of things . . . .410

iv. Theory of proof The basis of proof in syllogism is

an abstract law 412

v. Theory of axioms Axioms are relations between
abstract truths They may be reduced to the
axiom of identity 414

vi. Theory of induction Its methods are of elimination

or abstraction . . . . . .416

vn. The two great operations of the mind, experience
and abstraction The two great manifestations
of things, sensible facts and abstract laws Why
we ought to pass from the first to the second
Meaning and extent of the axiom of causation . 417

vni. It is possible to arrive at the knowledge of first
elements Error of German metaphysicians
They have neglected the element of chance, and
of local perturbations What might be known
by philosophising ant Idea and limits of meta-
physics Its state in the three thinking nations 420

IX. A morning in Oxford , ( t * . . 424



CONTENTS. xvii



CHAPTER VI.



I. Talent and work First attempts Wherein he was

opposed to preceding poets Wherein he carried

on their spirit . . . . . .427

II. First period Female characters Delicacy and re-

finement of sentiment and style Variety of his
emotions and of his subjects Literary curiosity
and poetic dilettantism The Dying Swan The
Lotos-Eaters . ...... 428

m. Second period Popularity, good fortune, and life
Permanent sensibility and virgin freshness of the
poetic temperament Wherein he is at one with
nature Locksley Hall Change of subject and
style Violent outbreak and personal feeling
Maud . . . ...... 433

iv. Return of Tennyson to his first style In Memoriam

Elegance, coldness, and lengthiness of this
poem The subject and the talent must har-
monise What subjects agree with the dilettante
artist The Princess Comparison with As You
Like It Fanciful and picturesque world How
Tennyson repeats the dreams and the style of the
Renaissance ....... 439

V. How Tennyson repeats the ingenuousness and sim-
plicity of the old epic Tlie Idylls of the King
Why he has restored the epic of the Round Table

Purity and elevation of his models and his
poetry Elaine Morte d' Arthur Want of indi-
vidual and absorbing passion Flexibility and
disinterestedness of his mind Talent for meta-
morphosis, embellishment, and refinement . 447



XV1U



CONTENTS



vi. His public Society in England Country comfort
Elegance Education Habits Wherein Ten-
nyson suits such a society Society in France
Parisian life Its pleasures Display Con-
versation Boldness of mind Wherein Alfred
de Musset suits such a society Comparison of
the two societies and of the two poets . , 454



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
VOLUME IV

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY Frontispiece

THOMAS CAMPBELL Page 16

ALEXANDER POPE "32

THOMAS MOORE "48

HERBERT SPENCER "64

DANIEL DEFOE * . " 80

JOHN STUART MILL "96

CHARLES DICKENS "160

WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE " 240

ADAM SMITH "256

WILLIAM PITT (EARL OF CHATHAM) ..." 272

EDMUND BURKE "288

BLAISE PASCAL "304

DAVID HUME "320

SIR ISAAC NEWTON " 400

ALFRED TENNYSON ..." 432



HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.

BOOK IV.
MODERN LIFE.

CHAPTER II.

ILort Bgron.

I.

I HAVE reserved for the last the greatest and most
English of these literary men ; he is so great and so
English that from him alone we shall learn more truths
of his country and of his age than from all the rest put
together. His ideas were proscribed during his life ;
it has been attempted to depreciate his genius since his
death. Even at the present day English critics are
hardly just to him. He fought all his life against the
society from which he was descended ; and during his
life, as after his death, he suffered the penalty of the
resentment which he provoked, and the dislike to which ,
he gave rise. A foreign critic may be more impartial,
and freely praise the powerful hand whose blows he has
not felt.

If ever there was a violent and madly sensitive soul,
but incapable of shaking off its bonds ; ever agitated.

VOL. IV. B



2 MODERN LIFE. BOOK iv.

but yet shut in; predisposed to poetry by its innate
fire, but limited by its natural barriers to a single kind
of poetry, it was Byron's.

This promptitude to extreme emotions was with him
a family legacy, and the result of education. His
great-uncle, a sort of raving and misanthropical maniac,
had slain in a tavern brawl, by candle-light, Mr.
Chaworth, his relative, and had been tried before the
House of Lords. His father, a brutal roysterer, had
eloped with the wife of Lord Carmarthen, ruined and
ill-treated Miss Gordon, his second wife; and, after
living like a madman and a scoundrel, had gone with the
remains of his wife's family property, to die abroad. His
mother, in her moments of fury, would tear her dresses
and her bonnets to pieces. When her wretched hus-
band died she almost lost her reason, and her cries
were heard in the street. It would take a long story
to tell what- a childhood Byron passed under the care of
" this lioness ;" in what torrents of insults, interspersed
with softer moods, he himself lived, just as passionate
and more bitter. His mother ran after him, called him
a " lame brat," shouted at him, and threw fire-shovel and
tongs at his head. He held his tongue, bowed, and none
the less felt the outrage. One day, when he was " in
one of his silent rages," they had to take out of his hand
a knife which he had taken from the table, and which
he was already raising to his throat. Another time
the quarrel was so terrible, that son and mother, each
privately, went to " the apothecary's, inquiring anxiously
whether the other had been to purchase poison, and
cautioning the vendor of drugs not to attend to such an
application, if made." l When he went to school, " his

1 Byron's Works, ed. Moore, 17 vbls. 1832; Life, i. 102.



CHAP. ir. LORD BYRON. 3

friendships were passions." Many years after he left
Harrow, he never heard the name of Lord Clare, one
of his old schoolfellows, pronounced, without " a beating
of the heart." 1 A score of times he got himself into
trouble for his friends, offering them his time, his pen,
his purse. One day, at Harrow, a big boy claimed the
right to fag his friend, little Peel, and finding him re-
fractory, gave him a beating on the inner fleshy side of
his arm, which he had twisted round to render the pain
more acute. Byron, too small to fight the rascal, came up
to him, "blushing with rage," tears in his eyes, and
asked with a trembling voice how many stripes he meant
to inflict. " Why," returned the executioner, " you little
rascal, what is that to you ?" " Because, if you please,"
said Byron, holding out his arm, " I would take half." 2
He never met with objects of distress without affording
them succour. 3 In his latter days in Italy, he gave
away a thousand pounds out of every four thousand he
spent. The upwellings of this heart were too copious,
and flooded forth good and evil impetuously, and at the
least collision. Like Dante, in his early youth, Byron,
at the age of eight, fell in love with a child named
Mary Duff.

" How very odd that I should have been so utterly, devotedly
fond of that girl, at an age when I oould neither feel passion,
nor know the meaning of the word ! . . . I recollect all our
caresses, . . . my restlessness, my sleeplessness. My misery,
my love for that girl were so violent, that I sometimes doubt
if I have ever been really attached since. When I heard of
her being married, ... it nearly threw me into convulsions." 4

At twelve years he fell in love with his cousin, Margaret
Parker :

* Byron's Works, Life, i. 63, * Ibid. i. 69.

Ibid, 137, Ibid, I 26,



4 MODERN LIFE. BOOK iv

" My passion had its usual effects upon me. I could not
sleep I could not eat I could not rest ; and although I had
reason to know that she loved me, it was the texture of my
life to think of the time which must elapse before we could
meet again, being usually about twelve hours of separation.
But I was a fool then, and am not much wiser now." l

He never was wiser, read hard at school ; took too
much exercise ; later on, at Cambridge, Newstead, and
London, he changed night into day, rushed into de-
bauchery, kept long fasts, led an unwholesome way of
living, and engaged in the extreme of every taste and
every excess. As he was a dandy, and one of the most
brilliant, he nearly let himself die of hunger for fear of
becoming fat, then drank and ate greedily during his
nights of recklessness. Moore said :

" Lord Byron, for the last two days, had done nothing
towards sustenance beyond eating a few biscuits and (to appease
appetite) chewing mastic. . . . He confined himself to lobsters,
and of these finished two or three to his own share, interposing,
sometimes, a small liqueur-glass of strong white brandy, some-
times a tumbler of very hot water, and then pure brandy again,
to the. amount of near half a dozen small glasses of the latter.
. . . After this we had claret, of which having despatched two
bottles between us, at about four o'clock in the morning we
parted." 2

Another day we find in Byron's journal the following
words :

"Yesterday, dined tSte-a-tSte at the " Cocoa" with Scrope
Davies sat from six till midnight drank between us one
bottle of champagne and six of claret, neither of which wines
ever affect me." 3



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