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one had thought ; and it is a conviction that
exhortations and terse truths, or lies, stick
better when they are put metrically that has
led the modern advertiser even the Govern-
ment when it was advertising War Loan to
rely more and more on this effective, if irritat-
ing, form of propaganda. I suppose the most
universal of all, a rhyme known probably to the
majority of people throughout the whole
English-speaking world, is that which begins :
" Thirty days hath September." This rhyme


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begins as one's servant and ends by being one's
master ; how many of us have the wretched
thing ringing in our heads whenever we have
to remember a date, long after our common
faculties have put us in full possession of
the facts ? Weather mnemonics, formerly so
common, have, I think, been dying out since
we became an urban people ; but that which
(I hope accurately) informs us of the various
feelings that the shepherd has when he sees a
red sky at morning or a red sky at night is
still generally current. The Board of Trade
itself, I believe, incites mariners to learn the
verses about

Green to green and red to red,
Perfect safety, go ahead.

and the corresponding verses for terrene travel
are widely known. These, however, appear
to me to overreach themselves. It is really
far easier to remember to keep to the left than
it is to recite, at moments of emergency, lines
about being right if you go to the left, and
getting left if you go to the right. Mnemonics
as an assistance in such cases as this are a
burden. One might as well have a rhyme
telling one in which hand to hold one's knife.
And the deuce of a mnemonic is that once
acquired it can never be entirely lost. Either
it comes grinding into your head whenever
it has a chance or else (as with St Swithin's) its

Rhymed Mnemonics

phantom haunts one and one is uneasy until
one has disinterred the lost corpse. Most
mnemonics are by no means lovable for their
own sakes. There are exceptions. The finest
mnemonic of all that I have ever heard is that
which records the signs of the Zodiac. It
runs at least it runs thus in an imperfect
memory :

The Ram, the Bull, the Heavenly Twins,
Next the Crab the Lion shines,

The Virgin and the Scales,
The Scorpion, Archer, little Goat,
The Man who holds the watering pot,

The Fish with glittering scales.

But this is poetry. It might have come out of
Christopher Smart's magnificent Song to David;
it might have come out of that kindred chant
of exaltation, Mr. Ralph Hodgson's Song of
Honour. Still, if we can get mnemonics which
are also good verse, so much the better.

But a full collection of mnemonics in rhyme
would make a very large volume. They exist
in every sphere of education with which I am
acquainted. Possibly (but I don't know)
the newest kind of elementary Latin grammars
leave them out ; but in my time the rules for
gender in Latin, and the exceptions, were all
memorised in dreadful jingles on the lines of

Common are to either sex,
Artifex and opifex.


Books in General

When I believe it is so no longer Paley's
Evidences of Christianity was a compulsory
subject in the Cambridge Little Go many men
never referred to the work itself. They used
a hoary summary compiled in verse about the
middle of the last century by a gentleman who
had been coxswain of the University Boat.
The repulsive exploits of Nero were concluded
with a line, " He said it was the Christian men
that set the town on fire, sirs," and the way
in which Paley's examination of miracles
was dealt with may be exemplified by :

Cardinal de Retz, in Spain,
Saw a man (as some maintain)
Had one leg, then had two :
Paley does not think this true.

As a series of mnemonics this work was a
masterpiece of art, and, in practice, it was very
successful ; whether it was calculated to in-
culcate respect for Paley, for Christianity, or
for its evidences is another matter. What
other religious mnemonics there may be I know
not ; though some are probably current in
theological colleges where they have to study
and differentiate the early sects. But the
physical scientists have hosts of them, which
are quite unknown to the general public.

That ancient musical comedy, the Geisha,
the name of which may be not even a memory

Rhymed Mnemonics

a generation hence, has left traces which may
be permanent in the physical class-rooms.
One of its songs (The Interfering Parrot)
served as a model for a mnemonic rhyme,
still widely employed, and quoted in a recent
book on X-Rays, recording the history of
an electron. There are a whole series of rhymes
to assist persons who are making tests. One
concerning lead begins " Pb, or not Pb, that
is the question " and ends

And thus the native clearness of solution
Is sicklied tier with the pale tint of milk ;

and there is a remarkably feeble pun in a
couplet which goes :

Why, then (I really must be funny),
'Tis uncle tin, or anti-mony.

these two metals occurring together. Some-
thing better is :

Aluminous salts give a luminous brightness
When heated on charcoal, 'tis true.
But with nitrate of cobalt they lose all their white-
And turn to a beautiful blue.

Maxwell, I think it was, who put the solution
of a problem in mechanics into pretty good
verse. But the best translation of a problem


Books in General

is " Q's " conversion of the first proposition
of Euclid into a Scots ballad. It begins :

The King sits in Dunfermline town
Drinking the blood red wine ;
" wha will rear me an equilateral triangle
Upon a given straight line ? "

This would do beautifully for a mnemonic.
But unfortunately it is longer than the original
proposition, and the original proposition is a
sight easier to remember. Probably the
ethnologists, the philologists, the teleologists,
the conchologists and the coleopterists also
have their mnemonics. Of these I know
nothing ; but, by analogy, I argue that most
of them will have four stresses to the line, like
most mnemonics and most English popular

Two Great Wars

THE house I was in contained a bound
volume of the Anti-Jacobin. It ran
from November aoth, 1797, until
July gth, 1798, as a weekly newspaper, and,
as the saying goes, it is unnecessary to state
that the principal contributors were Canning,
Hookham Frere, and Ellis. It was a most read-
able organ. One feature was a " weekly
examiner," which classified the statements

Two Great Wars

of opposition newspapers in the three cate-
gories " Lies," " Misrepresentations," and
" Mistakes." Another was the famous series of
satirical poems, which included The Rovers and
The Loves of the Triangles. But what princip-
ally struck me was the repetitiveness of history
and the durability of journalese. Half the
leaders in the paper might have been reprinted
during the present if it is present war, with
scarcely any alteration save the occasional
substitution of " German " for " French " ;
and the phraseology is so " modern " that one
is tempted to presume a practice amongst
newspapers of buying up the cliches of defunct

I spent hours over the close print and the
yellowing paper. Numbers one and two con-
tained little of interest ; abuse of France and
the sagacious articles about loans versus taxa-
tion to which we are accustomed. In number
three, however, one came plumb into the
middle of an article about Ireland which might
almost have appeared yesterday. The Govern-
ment was blamed for coercion. But what was
the Government to do ?

" They had beheld illegal associations ad-
ministering unlawful oaths throughout the
country, for the purpose of overthrowing the
constitution ; they had seen the authority of
the state despised, in the disarming of its


Books in General

soldiery ; they had the warning of revolu-
tionary preparations, in the war-whoop of
sedition sounded through the country, in the
forging of arms, and the carrying off of the
king's military stores."

One gets away from to-day when one finds the
Belfast Press denounced as the worst fomenter
of sedition, but back again with the peroration :

" ... if they had tamely suffered a system
of disaffection gradually to extend itself over
the country, until ripe for action, in preference
to crushing the evil in its infancy, by measures
of energy suited to the magnitude of the

occasion. 5 ''

A warning (about taxation) lest " under the
pretence of relieving the Poor, the burden is
disproportionately and unreasonably accumu-
lated on the Rich " brings one to a letter
(from Oxford) attacking the French for their
infamous infraction of the laws of war in
confiscating works of art belonging to occupied

The French thoughout are, jointly and
severally, " monsters," who wish to " reduce
the whole civilised world to one level of
degradation and submission."

On February I2th, 1798, there is a robust
leader on a War Loan meeting in the City :

Two Great Wars

" The most numerous meeting ever known,
of the opulent citizens of London, publicly
assembled in the Royal Exchange (the centre
of the Commerce of this great Empire and of
Europe), have, by resolutions passed without
a dissenting voice, testified their determina-
tion to avail themselves of their unexampled
resources, in a manner adapted to the exigency
of the times, and to the magnitude of the
interests which are at stake."

And then the French say we have no established
tradition of English prose ! The rest is equally
familiar, particularly the part about all classes
subscribing according to their means ; the one
sentence that dates being one about the
contributions received from " the Menial
Servants of Families." On February I2th,
1798, there is an attack on the pro-French
for demanding that " the Emperor of Germany,
the Emperor of Russia, the King of England
and the Kings of Spain and Prussia should
publish to the world the tenour of all secret
engagements they have contracted with each
other." There are moments when one feels
that E pur si muove was a paradox.

The Anti-Jacobin assures its reader that the
French war-loan, whatever the French may
say, lags. The French Government knows
that it is done, and is now plotting for a
premature peace.

P 225

Books in General

" They have conceived, that if Peace can
be spoken of in general terms, without any
mention of conditions, the idea will be caught
at with avidity.

Yet nobody learns from history's repetitions
and, owing to the Germans' blindness, we had
to answer the same move in the same stale
words last year. I brooded over this ; but
when I came to a triumphant leader on the
Zeebrugge Raid I was startled. The issue
was May 28th. The article began :

" The events of the last week have been
highly important. The success of the bold
and well-planned enterprise at Ostend, while
in itself productive of eminent advantage to
this country, by the destruction of a work
which it will cost the enemy so much time
and expense to repair, and by the impediments
which it throws in the way of the preparations
of their naval armaments, is yet more to be
valued as it indicates a system of vigorous
hostility on the part of this country. ... It
seems only necessary to state that the harbour
of Ostend, which is in great part rendered
useless, and the canal of Bruges, which has
been totally destroyed by this expedition,
formed one of the most important receptacles
for the boats and other craft destined for the
invasion of this country.

The nests of the pirates had been destroyed ;

Two Great Wars

the seas would now be safer for our merchant
shipping ; the risk of invasion (for which,
we are told elsewhere, an army especially
skilled in massacre and plunder had been set
apart) had been greatly diminished ; and above
all the public would be encouraged by the
knowledge that the policy of the authorities
was aggressive and not merely defensive.
The cheers over this enterprise went on for
weeks ; and a good deal of satire was expended
on the sceptics of the Opposition, who crabbed
and minimised its results.

But almost the queerest little paragraph I
saw was about a peer, whose soundness was
very suspect, and about whom the Opposition
Press had been spreading rumours to the effect
that the Government had been establishing
contact with him. The Morning Post, then a
Radical organ (accused, in the one place, of
having secret communication with the enemy),
had published this paragraph :

" Ministers have, within a few days, made
overtures to the Marquis of Lansdowne."

The Anti-Jacobin's comment is " No. Though
we have not the Noble Marquis's authority
to contradict this paragraph, we venture to do
it notwithstanding." And it adds that it is
cruel of the Opposition thus to break in on
" the solitude of the Hermit of Bowood." I


Books in General

avoid deductions or moralisings. But it be-
comes more and more apparent that if you
wish to keep your sense of the freshness of
politics it is better not to read history.

Sir Walter Raleigh

THE Raleigh Tercentenary was fairly
adequately celebrated. Mr. Gosse's
lecture at the Mansion House was a
good one ; the war did not prevent meetings
in various quarters of the globe ; and the Press
spared more space than might have been
expected. Why have they almost all in recent
years began to spell his name Ralegh ? " Legh "
is no sort of a syllable to our eyes. If it had
long been standardised and there were no
authoritative alternative one wouldn't object.
But Raleigh's widow used " Raleigh " and
his own contemporaries rung the changes on
several spellings. If we must throw over
the traditional spelling we might throw it
over for " Rawley," which at least represents
the pronunciation ; but why throw it over
at all ? Only because there are people who
like to look pedantic even when there is not
a pedant's excuse for it. I am sure that it
takes them a conscious effort every time they
leave out the " i."

Sir Walter Raleigh

Enough of that. One thing which struck
me most about both the orations and the
articles, including the interesting essay in the
Literary Supplement, was the general absence
of quotations from Sir Walter's works. People
concentrated on his career as a sailor, as a
politician and a courtier, and thought it
unnecessary to say more about his writings
than that he wrote them or some of them.
The Anglo-American Alliance (or rather Asso-
ciation) largely accounted for this ; we had
to dwell extensively on the New World, the
settlement of which now proves to have been
so useful. But the occasion might have^been
taken of drawing people's attention to the
beauties and majesties of Raleigh's verse and
prose, even the most hackneyed passages in
which are unknown to many intelligent

His verse is uneven in quality and undefined
in quantity. So far as I know, but I am open
to correction, the critical edition by the Rev.
John Hannah, published by Pickering in
1845, st iU holds the field. It contains almost
everything ascribed to Raleigh with any
plausibility, and an elaborate commentary
which disputes his claims to all the poems
save four or five. There is the slightest of
evidence for his authorship of the pilgrim
ballad beginning :


Books in General

As you came from the holy land

Of Walsinghame,
Met you not with my true love,

By the way as you came ?

How shall I know your true love

That have met many one,
As I went to the holy land,

That have come, that have gone?

The argument for his authorship of " If all
the world and love were young " the answer
to his friend Marlowe's " Come live with me
and be my love " is rather stronger. The
lovely sonnet on The Faerie Queene is, happily,
his almost unquestionably :

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay
Within that temple, where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn. . . .

So also is The Lie, thirteen stanzas on the
model of

Say to the Court, it glows,
And shines like rotten wood ;

Say to the Church, it shews

What's good, and doth no good :

If Church and Court reply,

Then give them both the lie.

The lines written by him the night before he

was executed :


Sir Walter Raleigh

Even such is time, that takes on trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have. . . .

are in all the anthologies. So is the begin-
ning of The Pilgrimage :

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet ;

My staff of faith to walk upon ;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet ;

My bottle of salvation.

But the poem is often truncated ; they stop
at the more beatific parts of Raleigh's vision
and omit the bitter lines on

Heaven's Iribeless hall,
Where no corrupted voices brawl ;
No conscience molten into gold,
No forg'd accuser bought or sold,
No cause deferred, no vain-spent journey,
For there Christ is the Kings Attorney.

The King's Attorney whom Raleigh faced
on earth was Sir Edward Coke, who conducted
the case with infamous brutality.

Raleigh's noblest entire effort in prose
was his account of the fight off the Azores,
in which his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville,
fought his last fight. This narrative is the
basis of Tennyson's fine poem ; Tennyson
drew from it not merely his details of fact


Books in General

but his language to such an extent that his
poem is in places but a metrical paraphrase.
There is, however, a great field for the antho-
logist in Raleigh's prodigious History of the
World. There occurs that great passage vindi-
cating the influence of the stars over human
destinies :

" And certainly it cannot be doubted but
the stars are instruments of a far greater use
than to give an obscure light, and for men to
gaze on after sunset ; it being manifest that
the diversity of the seasons, the winters and
summers, more hot and cold, are not so uncer-
tained by the sun and moon alone, who alway
keep one and the same course ; but the stars
have also their working therein.

" And if we cannot deny, but that God hath
given to springs and fountains, to cold earth,
to plants and stones, minerals, and to the
excremental parts of the basest living creatures,
why should we rob the beautiful stars of their
working powers ? For, seeing they are many
in number, and of eminent beauty and magni-
tude, we may not think that in the treasury
of his wisdom who is infinite there can be
wanting, even for every star, a peculiar virtue
and operation ; as every herb, plant, fruit,
and flower adorning the face of the earth
hath the like. For as these were not created
to beautify the earth alone, and to cover and

Sir Walter Raleigh

shadow her dusty face, but otherwise for the
use of man and beast, to feed them and cure
them, so were not these uncountable glorious
bodies set in the firmament to no other end
than to adorn it, but for instruments and
organs of his divine providence, so far as it
has pleased his just will to determine."

How simple and natural is this language for
all its resounding march ; how much better
in that place that easy " beautiful " before
" stars " than the most recondite, specialised
adjective that could have been found ; who
since Raleigh, but Donne at his best or Jeremy
Taylor, could have spoken " and to cover and
shadow her dusty face " ? The passage is
not very well known. The only thing from
the History of the World that is well known is
the great concluding epitaph on ambition
and tribute to death which ends and thus
ending, must have echoed in De Quincey's
mind when he wrote the most eloquent of
his paragraphs on opium with one of the
famous sentences of English prose :

" eloquent, just and mighty Death !
whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded ;
what none hath dared, thou hast done ; and
whom all the world hath flattered, thou only
hast cast out of the world and despised ;
thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched
greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition


Books in General

of man, and covered it all over with these two
narrow words, ' Hie jacet ! '

Wolfe, rowing in the dark across the St.
Lawrence, said that he had rather have written
Gray's Elegy than take Quebec. It is the
glory of the Elizabethan Age (as perhaps
of every great poetic era) that it produced men
capable of rivalling either feat. Sir Walter
Raleigh was one.

The Decay of the Novel

A PUBLISHER whom I met complained
that he could not get any good
novels. He could get tolerable
novels ; he could get saleable novels ; he
could get an infinite number which were
neither tolerable nor saleable. But what he
wanted and he was not unique among pub-
lishers in feeling this hankering was novels
which were literature, novels by young men
which promised still finer novels in the future.
" Where," he asked, " are the young men
who are going to have the kind of reputation
ten or twenty years hence that the most
prominent of the elder novelists have now ?
Who is going to write novels which will last,
or which will influence the intelligent public ? ?:
These were his questions, and I could not

2 34

The Decay of the Novel

answer him. There have been since the war
very few first or second novels that have had
more than a week's vogue, and of those
several were written by people who may not
become professional novelists. Ten years ago
there was a crop of young novelists (Henry
James discussed some of them in a famous
article) who may not, as a body, have come
to much, but on whom critics and publishers
at least pinned hopes. No similar group has
succeeded it. A book here and there since
then has made a success with the discriminating.
But these successes were isolated. And the
general tendency of intelligent young men to
try their hands at the novel seems to have
weakened. Ten years ago if one knew a
young man of brains who was beginning to
write, the betting was twenty to one that he
would try his hand at the novel first, and
there was a strong probability that his next
attempt would be made on the repertory
theatre play. The production of competent,
respectable novels has fallen off, and that of
novelistic plays has fallen off with it. There
has been a change in temperament and in
atmosphere : the talented young are writing
poetry, lyric poetry. Possibly the large-scale
poem and poetic play will follow. At all
events, narrative prose is not so universally
the fashion as it was.

I do not suppose that the English novel is


Books in General

going to die. We have no certainty, of course.
The novel is a modern creation. They had a
few novels before the birth of the novel as
we know it. The later Greeks had novels
about lovers and pirates, and very dull they
were. The Middle Ages had stories, some of
them long enough to be called novels ; and
if the French romances of the seventeenth
century are not admitted to be novels it is
certainly not because of any defect in length.
People dispute about the novel's origins.
There were masses of tales in English (cf.
the Bibliographical Society's catalogue) before
Bunyan, whom Mr. Kipling calls " The Father
of the Novel, Salvation's first Defoe," or
Defoe, whose claim Mr. Kipling obliquely
recognises. But even in Defoe's day the
novel was not esteemed as later generations
have esteemed it. It was a subsidiary diver-
sion, not an art-form, still less the dominant
art-form. Richardson and Fielding hoisted
it up, Scott and Dickens put it on its modern
pinnacle. Its modern numerical predomin-
ance and the quantity of the brains that
have been diverted to its service have not
been determined altogether by the scope it
offers to creative genius. They have been
determined by economic demand arising from
social change. Universal education has pro-
duced the big public ; the big public will read
stories and nothing else ; the novel and the
newspaper have ascended together ; the novel-

The Decay of the Novel

ist is offered financial rewards that no other
writer of books can hope to obtain ; some
money can be made out of almost any pub-
lishable novel, and there is fascination in the
chance of a big success. No historian,
essayist or bard can lie lapt in the beautiful
dream of serialisation in America, or half a
million sale in the ex-sevenpennies after the
dear editions have been exhausted. But
economically the novelist's position is likely
to weaken a little as the size of the educated
public increases. And, so far as the excep-
tional writer is concerned, it cannot be denied
that, however relatively large the demand
for novels, there is bound to come a day when
he will feel that the time has come to try his

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