« ElőzőTovább »
stand that if a young man in Japan finds that he cannot raise the young man whom he has undertaken to guard and attend to an equality to the very best of his class, and if he cannot raise him above those who are not his equal in rank, he suffers so much pain that he cannot return to that country; and he is drawn into a resolution that is self-sacrifice, and is prepared for the suicide of himself rather than that his fidelity to his chieftain should fail. It is a very remarkable trait. We don't understand it in our loose, mercantile, popular civilization, but it is a prodigious power to those people that possess it. One thing was said to me in relation to this very interesting company of our friends — this: That they are, more than others, deeply interested in education. They have, indeed, honored me — I am quite undeserving of that honor — with enquiries in regard to that I wish I could help them. I wish any of us could. The best advice I can give to them is to say that next week, in this city, I understand, is to be held a meeting of the National Board of Education, in which, among other gentlemen and officers, is Mr. Harris of St. Louis in Missouri, who is the head there of the city education and is besides the editor of the only journal of speculative philosophy edited in this country; a very learned and a very able man, and very able as I understand in this particular subject of education.
I should wish my friends to make his acquaintance, as I doubt not he would be very glad to make theirs. I don't know any person that could advise them better on the subject
ADDRESS AT THE JAMES ANTHONY
I CONFESS, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that I have accepted your invitation to this banquet in good faith and humble belief that my friend, Mr. Froude, of old times, was coming here, but not to be myself made in any manner the subject of extravagant eulogy, in the poetic or satirical spirit of the President. To that I have nothing to reply, excepting that I know nothing of it. It gives me great pleasure, certainly, to be present at this very highly proper reception of our guest. I had the great pleasure many, many years ago — it was twenty-four years ago of meeting him when he was new from his Exeter college, and amid very valued friends, Mr. Clough of Oriel, honored in all parts of this country where intelligent young scholars are known; Mr. Arnold of this same college, also of Oriel, whose fame is also in all our mouths;. Mr. Stanley of Exeter; Mr. Palgrave, and other able young men with whom I became most happily acquainted on my visit at Oxford. And I rejoice very much to see Mr. Froude's face here, with all our added acquaintance with him in his books. His history is well-known, I know, to all good readers in this country, and he has established the importance of his own opinion, of his own judgment, in these books. I think he has taught us much. He has shown at least two eminent faculties in his histories — the faculty of seeing wholes, and the faculty of seeing and saying particulars. The one makes history valuable, and the other makes it readable - interesting. Both these qualities his writings have emi
nently shown. I think we are indebted to him for a power which is eminent in them, the discretion which is given us — the speeches, the language of the very persons whom his history records. The language, the style of the books, draws very much of its excellence from that habit, that practice, of giving the very language of the times. He knows well that the old EngĮish people and Irish people of whom his history records the events, did not write or speak in the style of The Edinburgh Review or The North American Review, but that they spoke a stern and dreadful language, when words were few and when words meant much. So that the language is like the cry of the soldier when the battle begins, or the cry of the fugitive when the battle turns against him. It is a pithy and wonderful language. If you remember, it is Shakespeare that says: “When breath is scant, it's very seldom spent in vain.” That is the very language of the poet. And that is the language which his taste and judgment has had the skill to secure, giving an emphasis and power to his history, which is not familiar to English and Irish history.
It gives me great pleasure to see Mr. Froude, an old friend, because he recalls the time of my own visit, twenty-four years ago. It was at Oxford, when I knew his contemporaries, his fellow-students at Exeter and Oriel — Mr. Arnold, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Clough — alas, he died too early for us all — Mr. Palgrave, and many other young men, then of great promise, and some of them who have more than fulfilled that promise. It gives me great pleasure to remember that time, and to see that, if something has fallen, much has survived, and that we have here one of the best representatives of just that culture and just that power and moral determination which was exhibited and felt by all those young men.
SPEECH AT THE BRYANT FESTIVAL
AT “THE CENTURY,” NOVEMBER 5, 1864
MR. PRESIDENT: Whilst I am grateful to you and to “ The Century” for the privilege of joining you in this graceful and most deserved homage to our poet, I am a little disconcerted, in the absence of some expected friends from the Bay State, at finding myself put forward to speak on their part. Let me say for them that we have a property in his genius and virtue. Whilst we delight in your love of him, and in his power and reputation in your imperial State, we can never forget that he was born on the soil of Massachusetts. Your great metropolis is always, by some immense attraction of gravity, drawing to itself our best men. But we forgive you in this case the robbery, when we see how nobly you have used him. Moreover, the joint possession by New York and Massachusetts of him, and of others in this great circle of his friends, is one of those ethereal hoops which bind these states inseparably in these perilous times.
I join with all my heart in your wish to honor this native, sincere, original, patriotic poet. I say original: I heard him charged with being of a certain school. I heard it with surprise, and asked, what school? for he reminded me of Goldsmith, or Wordsworth, or Byron, or Moore. I found him always original, a true painter of the face of this country, and of the sentiment of his own people. When I read the verses of popular American and English poets, I often think that they appear to have gone into the Art Galleries and to have seen pictures of mountains, but this man to have seen mountains.
With his stout staff he has climbed Greylock and the White Hills, and sung what he saw. He renders Berkshire to me in verse, with the sober coloring, too, to which nature cleaves, only now and then permitting herself the scarlet and gold of the prism. It is his proper praise, that he first and he only made known to mankind our northern landscape — its summer splendor, its autumn russet, its winter lights and glooms. And he is original because he is sincere. Many young men write verse which strikes by talent, but the writer has not committed himself, the man is not there, it is written at arm's length, he could as well have written on any other theme: it was not necessitated and autobiographic, and therefore it does not imprint itself on the memory, and return for thought and consolation in our solitary hours. But our friend's inspiration is from the inmost mind; he has not a labial but a chest voice, and you shall detect the tastes and experiences of the poem in his daily life.
Like other poets - more than other poets — with his expanding genius his ambition grew. Fountainheads, and pathless groves did not content him. It is a national sin. There is, you know, an optical distemper endemic in the city of Washington, contracted by Senators and others who once look at the President's chair; their eyes grow to it; they can never again take their eyes off it. The virus once in, is not to be got out of the system. Our friend has not this malady, but has symptoms of another,
“That last infirmity of noble minds." Ah, gentlemen! so cold and majestic as he sits here, I hear this sin burned at his heart — well hid, I own; never was a man more modest, less boastful, less egotistical. But you remember that wicked Phidias, who,