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those ladies who fear to be introduced to their favourite author, lest a personal knowledge of the man may spoil the high opinion they have formed of his works. They would probably consider a man insincere who argued against drunkenness, whilst he himself was a confirmed drunkard, and fancy what he said to be less true than if uttered by a teetotaller.
A man's nature is composed of so many various and often conflicting elements, that it is impossible to deduce his true character from the revelation of a single phase. We shall be puzzled to discover which is the predominant that colours and modifies the rest. The popular mind, shared in to a great degree by men of letters, is disposed to infer a man's character, not from his ordinary action and every-day conduct, but from some unusual and extraordinary exhibition, altogether at variance with his usual behaviour. If he exhibits himself in some exceptional way, it is supposed that thereby he has shown his true nature. Should he once in a lifetime act in a manner contrary to his usual customtreat his neighbour ungenerously, or behave meanly— his friends at once, and with no further evidence in support of their view, conclude that they obtain a glimpse of his true character, when in reality he was only acting under altered circumstances. The discordancy which results from his nature meeting
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the unfamiliar conditions, and unsuccessfully attempting to adjust itself, is only temporary; but it is taken to be indicative of the whole man-a particular circumstance is thus regarded as the index of a complete nature.
Books are even a less safe criterion than exceptional variation in conduct. In works produced by the exercise of the art-faculty, the author displays only his intellectual power, and sometimes merely the asthetic side of it. In proportion as he progresses as an artist will he be enabled skilfully to conceal even this from his reader. If his sympathy is wide and deep, and easily aroused, he can portray what is foreign to him with as much accuracy as if he were describing his individual nature. His greatness and his success will, indeed, be in the ratio of the ability he possesses to make his representations strictly objective. Accurate resemblance, then, between the man and his book is missing. Intellectual sincerity is exhibited; but we search in vain for that conformity between practice and precept which we have been usually taught to expect. In forming our estimate of a man's character, were we strictly to confine ourselves to a consideration of his literary productions, we should be under the necessity of re-writing the lives of most of our great authors. Luckily, external materials exist which enable us to gain a much
more trustworthy portraiture of them, than it is possible to obtain from their works. Horace wrote verses we esteem licentious; and the author of "The "Christian Hero" produced a work in which the virtues are admirably set before us in their true light. Did we know no more of these worthies than is to be derived from their several productions, our opinion of the two men would, I presume, be different from what it is now. We find that the little Roman satirist, although he had a big paunch, and his hair was grey before its time, was no roué, and was the last man to go out at midnight and whistle at the door of a deceitful mistress. Nor, unhappily, was the author of "The Christian Hero" a perfect model of the virtues he sets up in that work for our imitation. We cannot take the measure of either by what he himself has furnished. In the case of Horace, all that we can safely infer is, that he writes as if he were what he pretends to be; and, in the case of Steele, that he aspired to what he was unable to be.
I conclude, then, that a clear and broad distinction should be made in any estimate we have to form of a man, between his life and his opinions. have to criticise a book, it does not concern me what its author was. I have to do with his precepts, and not with his practice. If he has aided my culture,
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and given me advanced views of life which he himself was unhappily unable to exemplify in his own person, my thanks are equally due to him for the benefit and the discovery; and I credit him with being a wise man. If, on the other hand, I concern myself about his life, my estimate should not be modified by the value of what he has produced. If he was a bad man, I must not ignore or extenuate his faults because his works are of highest excellence. The Ayrshire ploughman was a very great poet, but a very unwise man. Goethe was a very wise man,
but a very mean artist.
N May, A. D. 1176, shortly before Whitsuntide, the canons of St. David's hurriedly assembled in their cathedral for the purpose of nominating a successor to their diocesan, David Fitz-Gerald, who had just died. Entering the Chapter-house, they proceeded to their deliberations with bolted doors; and, after long and anxious debate, unanimously fixed on Gerald de Barri, nephew to the late bishop, a young man who had not yet completed his twenty-ninth year, as their nominee to the vacant see. Thereupon the conference came to an end; the doors of the Chapter-house were flung open; and the Te Deum, that had been raised, was greedily caught up by the impatient crowd without.
The reason for this secresy, and for this selection, may be stated in a few words. From the days of its