Nathaniel Hillyer. Egleston.

The North American review (Volume 139) online

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felt warmly and expressed most spontaneously and naturally
what he felt toward his friends. In the gay and careless Catul
lus, one of the chief charms was the truth and warmth of his
affections. " Many poets have sung the praises of love ; few, if
any, have left so pleasant a record of their intercourse with their
friends. Whether in his gayest hours, or his deepest sorrow,
it was to these he turned for sympathy. He felt for them in
their griefs and disappointments, and rejoiced with them in their
joy. He appreciated their successes in literature without a shade
of envy, as in his dedication of his poems to Cornelius Nepos,
the historian, and in the light-hearted congratulations he ad
dressed to Cicero on the renown of his oratory." Of the hearty
and natural way in which he felt toward his friends, his lines to
Yerranius, on his return from long absence in Spain, is a good
example. I give it in the translation of Sir Theodore Martin :

"Dearest of all, Verranius! O my friend!
Hast -thou come back from thy long pilgrimage,
With brothers twin in soul thy days to spend,
And by thy hearth-fire cheer thy mother's age ?

" And art thou truly come ? O welcome news !
And I shall see thee safe, and hear once more
The tales of Spain, its tribes, its feats, its views,
Flow as of old from thy exhaustless store.

" And I shall gaze into thine eyes again !
And I again shall fold thee to my breaft I
O you, who deem yourselves most blest of men,
Which of you all like unto me is blest ? "

If the warmth of Catullus's heart is seen in such outbursts as
these, it appears not less in the bitterness with which he felt any
unkindness or estrangement ; and ancient poetry has no more
natural and heart-felt elegy than his lament over the untimely
death of his brother Hortalus, toward whom he felt not only as
a brother, but as a bosom friend.


When we come to the succeeding and more highly wrought
age of Roman poetry, Virgil we find very reserved in expressing
his own personal feelings. In fact, it is only indirectly that he
refers to himself or his friends at all. In the tenth eclogue,
however, when he sings of his early companion and fellow- stu
dent, Gallus, and the love of G-allus for Lycosis, under the usual
pastoral and Arcadian guise that seems to us so artificial, there
are two lines in which VirgiPs own native feeling reveals itself :

" Gallus,

For whom my love grows every hour as fast
As the young alder grows in early spring."

In the ^neid there are several persons and situations that
might be dwelt on. If " Fidus Achates w is too colorless a per
sonage, or if Pallas and Lausus are too faintly limned to detain
us, the story of Nisus and Euryalus, the delight of every boy
hood, stands the test of aged criticism, so attractive is the con
junction of the prowess of mature manhood and the first fresh
bloom of the warrior-boy.

" Nisus was guardian of the gate,
No bolder heart in war's debate.

With him, Euryalus, fair boy ;

None fairer donned the arms of Troy;

His tender cheek as yet unshorn,

And blossoming with youth new-born.

Love made them one in every thought;

In battle side by side they fought;

And now in duty at the gate

The twain in common station wait."

When the hour of trial comes, forth they go, brothers in arms
as in affection, the manly warrior and the gallant boy, one in the
beauty of their companionship and in the pathos of their fall.

As to Nisus : *

" In vain he spake ; the sword, fierce driven,
That alabaster breast had riven;
Down falls Euryalus, and lies
In death's enthralling agonies ;
Blood trickled o'er his limbs of snow ;
His head sinks gradually low.
Thus severed by the ruthless plough,
Dim fades a purple flower ;
Their weary necks no poppies bow
Beneath the thunder shower."


" Then Nisus on the midmost flies,
With Volsceus, Volsceus, in his eyes,"

" Then, pierced to death, asleep he fell
On the dead breast he loved so well.
Blest pair! if aught my verse avail,
No day shall make your memory fail

From off the heart of time,
While Capitol abides in place,
The mansion of the .ZEneian race,
And throned upon that moveless base

Rome's father sits sublime."

If Virgil does not often enlarge on friendship himself, he
seems to have awakened very lively feelings of friendship in
others. Horace is never more gentle, he even becomes tender,
whenever he speaks of him. The very mention of Virgil seems
to call out in Horace his best sense of purity and unworldllness.
When Virgil accompanied him on the celebrated journey to
Branduscium, this is the way he speaks of him :

"At Sinuessa we with Plotius meet
Varius and Virgil ; men than whom on earth
I know none dearer, none of whiter soul."

While Virgil was as yet known only as the writer of the
Eclogues, Horace says of him :

" The muse that loves the woodland and the farm,
To Virgil lends her gayest, tenderest charm."

Again, when Virgil was about to sail for Attica, some say in
search of health, Horace addressed in a well-known ode the ship
that was to bear him thither :

"To thee, O ship, we commit Virgil. Deliver him safe on the shores
of Attica, and preserve him whom I love as my life ; and may the skies
and winds prosper thee."

He calls Virgil the half of his soul, or, as the late Professor
Conington rendered the passage :

"So do thou, fair ship, that ow'st
Virgil thy precious freight ; to Attic coast
Safe restore thy loan and whole,
And give me back the partner of my soul!"

Horace has one more mention of Virgil, which cannot be
omitted. In his ode lamenting the death of their common
friend Quintilius, he says :

VOL. cxxxix. NO. 336. 34


"And sleeps he, then, the heavy sleep of death,

Quintilius? Piety, twin-sister dear
Of Justice! naked Truth! unsullied Faith!

When will ye find his peer?
By many a good man wept ; Quintilius dies ;

By none than you, my Virgil, trulier wept."

Tliis tone of tenderness toward Virgil is the more remark
able because Horace was, if not peculiarly a worldly man, yet
every way a man of the world. He delighted in what is called
11 good society/ 7 liked to be familiar with the great, and speaks
and writes in the most familiar terms about all the most distin
guished men of his time the old aristocracy; the statesmen,
like Mecenas and Agrippa; the poets Varius, Virgil, Pollio,
and Tibullus. Besides these, he has friendliness to spare for
obscurer men ; but his friendships, though genuine, are never
absorbing 5 there is in them nothing of that hyperbole which
Aristotle speaks of. He is always self-contained, and never
becomes so attached to one friend as Cicero was to Atticus. It
was friendship within measure, according to the rules of com
mon sense, never reaching to ardor or devotion.

Many more of the odes are dedicated to his several friends,
and it is noticeable how the tone varies with the disposition of
each one who is addressed. Thus, he invites Septimius to be his
companion when he would retire to live among the happy hills
that surround Tarentum, with their honey, their olives, their
grapes, their mild winters and long springs. "On that spot/ 7 he
says, " we will live together, and there thou wilt lay my bones and
drop over them the tear of affection."

In the next ode he addresses his friend Pompeius, who had
been his comrade alike in battle and in banqueting :

"O oft with me in troublous time

Involved, when Brutus warred in Greece,
Who gives you back to your own clime,

And your own gods, a man of peace,
Pompey! the earliest friend I knew,

With whom I oft cut short the hours
With wine, my hair bright bathed in dew

Of Syrian oils, and wreathed with flowers ?
With you I shared Philippi's rout,

Unseemly parted from my shield,
When Valor fell, and warriors stout

Were tumbled in the inglorious field."


Bat, however warm may have been the affection that the
poets cherished toward their friends, however beautiful their
expression of it, we find in them no hint of any hope that the
intercourse so prized here may be renewed hereafter. Often,
indeed, there is the distinct confession, when death comes, that
the separation is forever. Such we saw was the refrain of the
lament for Bionj such, too, was the feeling that Catullus
expressed in his elegy for his brother. I can recall but one
passage in Eoman literature where, in bidding farewell to a
departed soul, the mourner hints any hope for the future. It
is the well-known passage with which Tacitus concludes his life
of Agricola, a passage which, though in prose, breathes all the
elevated thought and beautiful melody of high poetry: "If
there is a home for the shades of the good, if, as wise men
believe, great souls do not perish with the body, mayest thou
rest in peace ! " But even if no hope for the future was vouch
safed to those men of old time, yet if they really esteemed true
and pure friendship to be the best thing that this world had to
offer them, and gave their hearts faithfully and unselfishly to
their friends, shall we not think that they chose the better part,
and were by that choice prepared for whatever may yet be in
store for the affectionate and the true ?



Ax article appeared in the NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW for
June of last year, written by Professor Isaac L. Rice, and entitled
" Herbert Spencer's Facts and Inferences." It purported to be a
review of that author's work in the domain of social science, and
its avowed object was so to present the subject " that the reader
may be enabled to form an opinion concerning the trustworthi
ness of Mr. Spencer's data and the value of his inductions ; and
to judge whether the social theories based largely on these data
and inductions on the one hand, and on dogmatic assertions on
other, are or are not tainted with fallacies." Mr. Rice then pro
ceeds to the somewhat ambitious task of destroying Mr. Spen
cer's reputation as a thinker by showing that neither in his facts,
nor in his inferences from them, is he entitled to the confidence
of his readers.

We read the article at the time of its publication with some
surprise at its assurance, but with an impression that its ob
viously bad spirit would so far put readers on their guard against
its arraignments as to make any formal reply to it superfluous.
But we have since been repeatedly reminded that the appearance
of such accusations, however really groundless they may be, in
the pages of the NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, makes necessary an
answer ; because, if uncontradicted, it will be generally assumed
that they are incapable of contradiction. Yielding to this view,
we now propose to examine the article of Mr. Rice and to exem
plify to the readers of the REVIEW his qualifications as a critic
of Mr. Spencer.

The object of Mr. Rice's article is to discredit the work of
that author as, in both its facts and its inferences, unworthy of
trust, and he begins by saying that two methods of criticism are
open to him. First : " I may attempt to cover the whole of the
vast field which he traverses and confine myself to general state-



ments more or less vague "; the implication being that if he fol
lows this method he will find abundant proofs of sophistry,
dogmatism, and facts and inferences that cannot be trusted.
But another method is also open to him, and, "preferring to be
precise," he will adopt it and " restrict himself to special points."
"We certainly commend the method adopted.

Mr. Rice's first " point " is somewhat sweeping in its conse
quences, being nothing less than to impeach Mr. Spencer's
capacity to understand the books he quotes. He says, " It is
important to note, at the outset, that he does not always cor
rectly apprehend the authors to whom he refers." This goes to
the root of the matter; because, if Mr. Rice can substantiate
this charge, " at the outset/' it will be quite needless for him to
proceed further. If incompetent to apprehend the authorities
he cites, Spencer's works must of course be worthless.

The issue is made up on the interpretation of Plato. Mr.
Rice calls in question Mr. Spencer's statement respecting the
comparison Plato makes between reason, will, and passion, in an
individual, and counsellors, military or executive, and the com
monalty, as parts of a society ; saying that this analogy is not
stated as Plato states it. Now, that Mr. Rice should take a differ
ent view from Mr. Spencer of what Plato means is not altogether
surprising ; since, out of the confused and incoherent statements
in the " Republic," meanings considerably different may be
drawn, according as one or other passage is taken, or according
as one or other meaning is given to a word. But that Mr. Spen
cer's interpretation of Plato's view is a quite justifiable one is
proved by the fact that this is the view taken by the translator
of the "Republic," in Bohn's Classical Library a standard
authority. In his general introduction, pp. 19-23, Mr. Davis,
the translator, says :

"The Kepublic of Plato is a development of the analogy between the
ideas of the perfect man and the perfect State. * * He opens the inquiry
with a kind of analysis of the human mind, which he divides into three parts,
first, the rational or reasoning principle (TO Xo-pOT'.ox6o) ; secondly, the
spirit or will (TO IOJAIXOO or Iojmoi6!<;) j and thirdly, the appetite or passion
(TO iTciftopLYjTwov) ; which last, however, indicates nothing beyond that vital
impulse which leads from one sensation to another. * * * He then pro
ceeds to classify the members or parts of his ideal Republics. These he
classes under three heads or divisions, corresponding with the faculties of the
soul, viz., 1. The fSooXeoTixov (counsellors), those who employ reason in the


contemplation of what best suits the State; 2. The Ircixooptxov, those who
aid the (fooXsmai with a ready will; 3. The XpY]jj.rmaTix6v, who are bent on
gain and selfish gratification."

And Mr. Davis quotes from Bitter, in verification of this
interpretation, the passage :

" There should be one part to correspond with the reason, to whom the
sovereignty is to be committed ; a second, answering to spirit, is to assist
the sovereign ; and lastly, a third part is made parallel to the appetite and
intended to supply the bodily wants of the community. These are the three
social classes the ruler, the warrior, and the craftsman" (p. xxiii.)

These passages from two good authorities abundantly war
rant Mr. Spencer's statement; the only difference being, that
whereas Bitter does not give " will " as a synonym of " spirit,"
the English translator does so in two places.

But Mr. Bice goes further, and states without any justifica
tion that Mr. Spencer misrepresents Plato ; namely, in respect
of the Platonic view of the authority for right and wrong.
Mr. Bice says that in the " Data of Ethics " Mr. Spencer " puts
into the mouth of the philosopher, whose great aim is to teach
the absolute being of Truth and Justice, the monstrous state
ment that i State enactments' are the sources of right and
wrong ! "Words to this effect," he continues, " may indeed be
found in the ' Bepublic,' but they are uttered by Thrasymachus
the sophist, and then exposed in all their bareness, and casti
gated by the unpitying irony of Socrates the philosopher.' 7
Now, one who turns to the dialogue will find that the misap
prehension is not on the part of Mr. Spencer, but on the part
of Mr. Bice. The dispute between Socrates and Thrasymachus
(see p. 15 of the translation above named) is whether the "just
is something that is expedient " simply, or whether it is that
which is expedient to " the more powerful ; " and that the dis
putants do not differ with regard to the authority of the State
is shown by a passage on the next page, in which Socrates
commences by asking :

" Tell me, do you not say that it is just to obey governors ? Yes, I do.
Are the governors in the several States infallible, or are they capable of
erring T Certainly, said he, they are liable to err. When they set about
making laws, then, do they not make some of them right, and some of them
wrong ? I think so. To make them right, then, is to make them expedient for


themselves ; and to make them not right (that is), inexpedient ; or how mean
you I Just so. And what they enact is to be observed by the governed ;
and this is what is just ? Of course. According to your reasoning, then, it
is just to do what is expedient to the stronger, while the contrary is what is
not expedient ; what say you ? Eeplied he, I am of the same opinion as

And that Mr. Spencer is not singular in his interpretation
of Plato's view of this matter is shown by the fact that the
like view is taken by Professor Bain, in his " Mental and Moral
Science," a text-book used both in American colleges and Eng
lish universities. On page 472 (first edition) Dr. Bain writes of
Plato's ethics :

"The relation of ethics to politics is intimate, and even inseparable.
The civil magistrate, as in Hobbs, supplies the ethical sanction. All virtue
is an affair of the State, a political institution. This, however, is qualified
by the demand for an ideal State, and an ideal governor, by whom alone
anything like perfect virtue can be ascertained."

It thus appears that on the first "point" it is not Mr.
Spencer, but Mr. Rice, that is discredited. His second has refer
ence to music, and here we might expect he would do better,
as he is himself a musician and the author of a book upon the
subject. He charges that Mr. Spencer's account of the evolu
tion of music contains absurd misstatements $ one of them being
with regard to the earliest forms of music. That Mr. Rice
should have proposed to instruct Mr. Spencer with respect to
the habits of savages is somewhat amusing when we consider
that Mr. Spencer has been studying that subject for forty years,
and has had collected and tabulated the accounts of some eighty
uncivilized races in all parts of the world, while the origin and
development of musical art among these races was a dis
tinctive object of the research. Mr. Rice, however, has the
hardihood to attack Mr. Spencer on this side of his work, and,
as might be expected, Mr. Rice comes to grief.

He quotes Mr. Spencer to the effect that, " as implied by the
customs of still extant barbarous races, the first musical instru
ments were, without doubt, percussive, sticks, calabashes, tom
toms, and were used simply to mark the time of the dance."
Mr. Rice ridicules this statement, referring to A. "W. Ambros as
his authority. Now, whether this German writer has examined
the comprehensive evidence furnished by the whole of these


eighty races there is no proof ; but the evidence when examined
shows clearly enough that there are barbarous races that have
not " horns, flutes, and stringed instruments " or any instru
ments beyond the percussive. And these races are the very
lowest, as Mr. Spencer's argument alleges.

Of the Tasmanians Lloyd says (" Tasmania and Victoria," p.
60) that, "in their corrobaru they accompany a monotonous
chant with beating on a kangaroo skin rolled up ; also with
beating on two sticks." So, too, of the Australians, whose
women during the dances sing and keep time " by beating with
sticks on their skin cloaks, done up into tight bundles" (" Travs.
Eth. Soc.," New Ser., iii., p. 257). Another statement is that
their music is of the simplest kind striking on the ground, on
another stick, on their skin cloaks rolled up, on a stretched skin.
The dances of the Andamanese are performed " to the time of
a song which is kept up by one man, the women clapping their
hands loudly and joining in the chorus. The time is often beaten
on what we call a dancing-board ; that is, a hollow piece of hard
wood, in the form of an ancient shield, which, being 'placed on
the ground, with the hollow downward, is stamped by one of
the party, who keeps it steady by placing the other foot on the
pointed end " (" St. John, Travs. Eth. Soc.," New Ser., v., p.
46). And among the Damaras, we find interestingly shown the
transition from the percussive instrument to the stringed. Says
Galton (p. 192) : " Their only musical instrument is their bow.
They tie a piece of reim round the bow-string and the handle
and bind them up tight together ; then they hold the bow hori
zontally against their teeth, and strike the tense bow-string with
a small stick. A good performer can produce great effect with
it. They attend more to the rhythm than the notes, and imitate
with its music the galloping or trotting of different animals to
perfection." "A very poor idea of music exists among the
Nagas, ' and it is never practiced except in dancing, where it
serves to mark the time. A rude, monotonous song is chanted
by the whole company, and eked out with the clapping of hands,
both on the part of the dancers and spectators " (" Stewart, Jour.
As. Soc. Bengal," xxiv., 615).

These facts not only verify Mr. Spencer's statement, but
show even more clearly than he had done that the rhythm of
music, marked at first by sounds that are unsonorous, like
clapped hands and clashed sticks, is primary, and that progress


toward the sonorous is through blows on things that vibrate
more sensibly than hands, or sticks, or bundles of skins.

Mr. Spencer, arguing that harmony did not grow out of
melody by a single leap, pointed out that probably concerted
music in general was developed from the fugue.

" The circumstance which prepared the way for it was the employment
of two choirs singing alternately the same air. Afterward it became the
practice (very possibly first suggested by a mistake) for the second choir to
commence before the first had ceased ; thus producing a fugue. With the
simple airs then in use a partially harmonious fugue might not improbably
thus result ; and a very partially harmonious fugue satisfied the ears of that
age, as we know from still preserved examples. The idea having once been
given, the composing of airs productive of fugal harmony would naturally
grow up, as in some way it did grow up out of this alternate choir singing.
And from the fugue to concerted music of two, three, four, and more parts,
the transition was easy." (" First Prin.," 125.)

This Mr. Rice ridicules, saying : " It is as though we should
say that the development of the isosceles triangle into a figure
of three sides was not attended by difficulties " ; the implica
tion of this comparison appearing to be that the fugue began
with several parts, for otherwise the declared absurdity does not
exist. Now, any one who will turn to Grove's elaborate " Dic
tionary of Music," still in course of publication, and will read
the article " Fugue," by Sir Frederick Gore Ousley, a doctor of
music, and professor at Oxford, may, as he reads the earlier
part of it, suppose that Mr. Rice's ridicule has some warrant ;
but he will find toward the close the following passage :

ft In Morley's ' Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke/ pub
lished in 1597, p. 76, we find the following definition : ' We call that a
fugue, when one part begineth and the other singith the same, for some
number of notes (which the first did sing), as thus, for example,' (here fol
lows a simple two-part fugue, in which the second voice commences a bar
after the first). This we should nowadays call a specimen of simple imita
tion at the octave, in two parts ; yet it is from such a germ as this that the
sublime structure of the modern fugue has been gradually developed."

There is therefore definite evidence that the fugue, in its
primitive form, had just that simple character which Mr. Spencer
affirmed, in which the harmony arose from the repetitions of the
same melody, one commenced a bar or more after the other, and
that from this simple beginning, as he implies, involved harmo-


nies, fugal and other, grew up. It is obvious that in this matter
Mr. Spencer knew what he was talking about, and equally mani
fest that Mr. Rice knows nothing about it.

Having sampled Mr. Ricefe criticism of Mr. Spencer's " facts/ 7
let us turn to his criticism of Mr. Spencer's " inf erences." Mr.
Rice undertakes to reason upon the subject of evolution, and
this is his modest position in regard to it. " Thus we have found
that the much-quoted 'law of e volution ? is no ]aw whatever;

Online LibraryNathaniel Hillyer. EglestonThe North American review (Volume 139) → online text (page 46 of 60)