In Scotland, in particular, it is almost respectable, aboveall when compared with any "irregularity between the sexes. Grundysmiles apologetically on its victims. It is often said--I have heard itwith these ears--that drunkenness "may lead to vice. Hence, in theeyes of many, my study was a step towards the demonstration of Burns'sradical badness. But, second, there is a certain class, professors of that low moralityso greatly more distressing than the better sort of vice, to whom youmust never represent an act that was virtuous in itself as attended byany other consequences than a large family and fortune.
To hint thatBurns's marriage had an evil influence is, with this class, to deny themoral law.
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Yet such is the fact. It was bravely done; but he hadpresumed too far on his strength. One after another the lights of hislife went out, and he fell from circle to circle to the dishonouredsickbed of the end. And surely, for any one that has a thing to call asoul, he shines out tenfold more nobly in the failure of that franticeffort to do right, than if he had turned on his heel with WorldlyWiseman, married a congenial spouse, and lived orderly and diedreputably an old man. It is his chief title that he refrained from "thewrong that amendeth wrong.
Job has been written and read; the tower of Siloamfell nineteen hundred years ago; yet we have still to desire a littleChristianity, or, failing that, a little even of that rude, old Norsenobility of soul, which saw virtue and vice alike go unrewarded, and wasyet not shaken in its faith. This is a case of a second difficulty which liescontinually before the writer of critical studies: that he has tomeditate between the author whom he loves and the public who arecertainly indifferent and frequently averse.
Many articles had beenwritten on this notable man.
One after another had leaned, in my eyes,either to praise or blame unduly. In the last case, they helped toblindfold our fastidious public to an inspiring writer; in the other, byan excess of unadulterated praise, they moved the more candid to revolt. I was here on the horns of a dilemma; and between these horns I squeezedmyself, with perhaps some loss to the substance of the paper. Seeing somuch in Whitman that was merely ridiculous, as well as so much more thatwas unsurpassed in force and fitness,--seeing the true prophet doubled,as I thought, in places with the Bull in a China Shop,--it appeared bestto steer a middle course, and to laugh with the scorners when I thoughtthey had any excuse, while I made haste to rejoice with the rejoicersover what is imperishably good, lovely, human, or divine, in hisextraordinary poems.
That was perhaps the right road; yet I cannot helpfeeling that in this attempt to trim my sails between an author whom Ilove and honour and a public too averse to recognise his merit, I havebeen led into a tone unbecoming from one of my stature to one ofWhitman's. But the good and the great man will go on his way not vexedwith my little shafts of merriment. He, first of any one, willunderstand how, in the attempt to explain him credibly to Mrs. Grundy, Ihave been led into certain airs of the man of the world, which aremerely ridiculous in me, and were not intentionally discourteous tohimself.
But there is a worse side to the question; for in my eagernessto be all things to all men, I am afraid I may have sinned againstproportion. It will be enough to say here that Whitman's faults are fewand unimportant when they are set beside his surprising merits. I hadwritten another paper full of gratitude for the help that had been givenme in my life, full of enthusiasm for the intrinsic merit of the poems,and conceived in the noisiest extreme of youthful eloquence. The presentstudy was a rifacimento. From it, with the design already mentioned, andin a fit of horror at my old excess, the big words and emphatic passageswere ruthlessly excised.
But this sort of prudence is frequently itsown punishment; along with the exaggeration, some of the truth issacrificed; and the result is cold, constrained, and grudging. In short,I might almost everywhere have spoken more strongly than I did.
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Here is an admirable instance of the "point of view" forcedthroughout, and of too earnest reflection on imperfect facts. Upon methis pure, narrow, sunnily-ascetic Thoreau had exercised a great charm. I have scarce written ten sentences since I was introduced to him, buthis influence might be somewhere detected by a close observer.
There could scarce be a perversionmore justifiable than that; yet it was still a perversion.
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The study,indeed, raised so much ire in the breast of Dr. Japp H. Page ,Thoreau's sincere and learned disciple, that had either of us been men,I please myself with thinking, of less temper and justice, thedifference might have made us enemies instead of making us friends. Tohim, who knew the man from the inside, many of my statements soundedlike inversions made on purpose; and yet when we came to talk of themtogether, and he had understood how I was looking at the man through thebooks, while he had long since learned to read the books through theman, I believe he understood the spirit in which I had been led astray.
On two most important points, Dr.
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Japp added to my knowledge, and withthe same blow fairly demolished that part of my criticism. First, ifThoreau were content to dwell by Walden Pond, it was not merely withdesigns of self-improvement, but to serve mankind in the highest sense. Hither came the fleeing slave; thence was he despatched along the roadto freedom. That shanty in the woods was a station in the greatUnderground Railroad; that adroit and philosophic solitary was anardent worker, soul and body, in that so much more than honourablemovement, which, if atonement were possible for nations, should havegone far to wipe away the guilt of slavery.
But in history sin alwaysmeets with condign punishment; the generation passes, the offenceremains, and the innocent must suffer.
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No underground railroad couldatone for slavery, even as no bills in Parliament can redeem the ancientwrongs of Ireland. But here at least is a new light shed on the Waldenepisode. Second, it appears, and the point is capital, that Thoreau was oncefairly and manfully in love, and, with perhaps too much aping of theangel, relinquished the woman to his brother. Even though the brotherwere like to die of it, we have not yet heard the last opinion of thewoman. But be that as it may, we have here the explanation of the"rarefied and freezing air" in which I complained that he had taughthimself to breathe.
Reading the man through the books, I took hisprofessions in good faith. He made a dupe of me, even as he was seekingto make a dupe of himself, wresting philosophy to the needs of his ownsorrow. But in the light of this new fact, those pages, seemingly socold, are seen to be alive with feeling. What appeared to be a lack ofinterest in the philosopher turns out to have been a touchinginsincerity of the man to his own heart; and that fine-spun airy theoryof friendship, so devoid, as I complained, of any quality of flesh andblood, a mere anodyne to lull his pains.
The most temperate of livingcritics once marked a passage of my own with a cross and the words,"This seems nonsense. It was a privatebravado of my own, which I had so often repeated to keep up my spiritsthat I had grown at last wholly to believe it, and had ended by settingit down as a contribution to the theory of life.
So with the more icyparts of this philosophy of Thoreau's.
He was affecting the Spartanismhe had not; and the old sentimental wound still bled afresh, while hedeceived himself with reasons. Thoreau's theory, in short, was one thing and himself another: of thefirst, the reader will find what I believe to be a pretty faithfulstatement and a fairly just criticism in the study; of the second hewill find but a contorted shadow. So much of the man as fitted nicelywith his doctrines, in the photographer's phrase, came out.
But thatlarge part which lay outside and beyond, for which he had found orsought no formula, on which perhaps his philosophy even looked askance,is wanting in my study, as it was wanting in the guide I followed.
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Insome ways a less serious writer, in all ways a nobler man, the trueThoreau still remains to be depicted. I am tempted to regret that I ever wrote on this subject, notmerely because the paper strikes me as too picturesque by half, butbecause I regarded Villon as a bad fellow. Others still think well ofhim, and can find beautiful and human traits where I saw nothing butartistic evil; and by the principle of the art, those should havewritten of the man, and not I. Where you see no good, silence is thebest. Though this penitence comes too late, it may be well, at least, togive it expression.
The spirit of Villon is still living in the literature of France. FatPeg is oddly of a piece with the work of Zola, the Goncourts, and theinfinitely greater Flaubert; and, while similar in ugliness, stillsurpasses them in a native power. Even if that were not worth doing at all, itwould be worth doing as well as he has done it; for the pleasure we takein the author's skill repays us, or at least reconciles us to thebaseness of his attitude.
I shallquote here a verse of an old student's song; worth laying side by sidewith Villon's startling ballade. Verbo rogantes Removes ostio, Munera dantes Foves cubiculo, Illos abire praecipis A quibus nihil accipis, Caecos claudosque recipis, Viros illustres decipis Cum melle venenosa. There is now a Villon Society in England; and Mr. John Payne hastranslated him entirely into English, a task of unusual difficulty. Iregret to find that Mr. Payne and I are not always at one as to theauthor's meaning; in such cases I am bound to suppose that he is in theright, although the weakness of the flesh withholds me from anythingbeyond a formal submission.
He is now upon a larger venture, promisingus at last that complete Arabian Nights to which we have all so longlooked forward. Perhaps I have done scanty justice to the charm ofthe old Duke's verses, and certainly he is too much treated as a fool.
source url The period is not sufficiently remembered. What that period was, to whata blank of imbecility the human mind had fallen, can only be known tothose who have waded in the chronicles. Excepting Comines and La Salleand Villon, I have read no author who did not appal me by his torpor;and even the trial of Joan of Arc, conducted as it was by chosen clerks,bears witness to a dreary sterile folly,--a twilight of the mind peopledwith childish phantoms.
Deacon Brodie. According to Wikipedia: "Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson - , was a Scottish novelist, poet, an The human conscience has fled of late the troublesome domain of conduct for what I should have supposed to be the less congenial field of art: there she may now be said to rage, and with special severity in all that touches dialect; so that in every novel the letters of the alphabet are tortured, and the reader wearied, to commemorate shades of mis-pronunciation.
Yale University Press is now publishing the definitive edition of Stevenson's collected letters in eight handsomely produced volumes. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Underwoods by Robert Louis Stevenson.
This is a sacred place designated and blessed for serious Jewish meditation and prayer. The Edwin J. Requiem Lyrics. The bell rock lighthouse and the Stevenson Get this from a library! A child's garden of verses and Underwoods,. Low, accompanied by the autograph explanatory note extracted from the back of the original 19th-century frame. De Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, gebuer den Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson Autograph manuscript of the published version of the poem, "To Mrs Will H.
Hyde, Stevenson indeed planted powerful literary seeds -- that grew into undisputed classics. Barrie,  and G. Most of the nearly circular pictorial space is occupied by a male figure, presumed to be the writer Stevenson, shown in profile from the left, clothed and sitting in bed. Er hatte jedoch ein Lungenleiden und studierte daher Jura von A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson remains popular for his celebrated contributions to the adventure and horror genres.