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We have been taught to neglect it by the atmosphere impregnated with the prob.
is directed. The aim of biography is to Well,” it may be objected, “that, so reveal a character. The characier is not far as it goes, is all on the side of the to be invented. But the biographer should scientific ideal of fiction, for George Eli-feel his task just as much one of selection ot's creation is a more powerful one than as the writer of fiction does. Only very George Sand’s.” To the countrymen of rarely will he reveal the character he seeks George Eliot, and at the very time of to reveal by telling everything he knows. publication it certainly is. Beyond this The most popular biography in the lanlimit of time and space we doubt. We guage is an example of just such a fortuhave a profound faith in the conser. nate chance as this. Boswell could not vative influence of pure literature, and bave painted a character that needed se. some distrust of instantaneous impres lective treatment; Johnson could not have siveness. The contrast seems to us for- been so vividly known to us by any one cibly exhibited in the earlier and later who bad aimed at selective treatment. style of George Eliot herself. “Adam Another popular biography – Stanley's Bede" was a study of moral aspects, not “Life of Arnold ” — seems to us to have an analysis of moral conditions; and it carried the principle of selection too far, had not so large an audience as its suc. and to lose interest with its lack of shadcessors had; perhaps it was not read ow. But the most erroneous specimens with the same keen interest as they were, of the kind of biography which embody for the author's power of description and the aim of revealing a character as a dif. creation remained undimmed, and to these ferent endeavor from that of describing a attractions was afterwards added that of thing, seem to us to do more ultimately a kind of mental stimulus peculiarly fat to further true views of mankind than the tering to the ordinary intellect. The read. most elaborate attempts which ignore this ers of
· Daniel Deronda” breathed an | difference, and suppose that what the bi.
ographer has to do is to empty his wallet longs to the literary spirit, that even here of information. The biographer who for- it seems to us the muse of history degets his kindred to the poet, and enters scends from her pedestal when she would into partnership with the student of phys. approach closely to science; nor should iology, starts from an assumption more we desire a better illustration of this truth false than any that could be put into a than the two historic works of the great narrative form. Only he who creates can man from whose biography we took our fully reveal, and he who remembers that start. The history written in his youth is truth will reveal least inadequately. an original and vivid picture of human
The case in which the scientific ideal is life; the history written in his age is an least hurtful to literature is one in which exhaustive account of the greatness of a the exception proves the rule, for as mem- military nation, which that nation finds ory is a bridge between the regions of itself obliged to study as the best source sense and imagination, so is history be of accurate information, and we feel no tween those of science and literature. I more doubt as to which of these works Here, no doubt, the two ideals must blend. will be best known to posterity, than we And yet so intimate, so indissoluble is the do as to its verdict on the contrast be. connection between the truth of human tween the purport of bis teaching and the life, and that selective feeling which be- disclosures of his biography.
THE ORIGIN OF SILK. - If we put any trust , India, and was at last brought to Europe. The in tradition, says an English journal, there is a soldiers of Crassus, B.C. 56, saw silken standlegend that Tchin, the eldest son of Japhet, ards among the Parthians, and a few years father of the Asiatic race, taught his children later an immense velarium of silk protected the art of preparing silk, as well as the arts of the spectators in the Roman circus from the painting and sculpture. Be this as it may, it rays of the sun. From this time the Romans is certain that about three thousand years were always provided with the beautiful textbefore the Christian era a Chinese book, ures which were the admiration of their the Chou-King, described silken cords, which legions. Yet silk was still the privileged pos. were stretched upon a musical instrument in- session of the rich, and in the time of Aurevented by the emperor Fo-Hi. One of his lian, who flourished in the third century, was successors, Chin Nong, reputed inventor of worth about forty times its present value. the plough, explained to his contemporaries This enormous price, when considered with what beautiful stuffs could be obtained by cul- the fact that there was at that time no cointivation of the mulberry tree, and about the merce between Rome and the Orient, goes far year B.C. 2600 an empress, to whom a grateful towards explaining the great hoarding of treas. posterity assigned a place in a celestial con- ure and jewellery which has since that time stellation, perfected the art of unravelling the gone on in India. There is a dispute between cocoon and weaving. From that time silk tradition and history as to the period when the culture had its principal seat near the northern genuine cocoon was brought from China to portion of the Yellow River, in the province Europe. How was the vigilance of the Ce. of Chan-Tong. There was produced silk for lestials thwarted, since exportation of the silkthe royal household. Yellow was the chosen worm from the flowery kingdom was forbidden color for the emperor, empress, and prince under the severest penalties? One account imperial; violets for the other wives of the states that in A.D. 552 two monks sent to Ko. emperor, blue for distinguished officers, red than by Justinian succeeded in bearing away for those less conspicuous, and black for every their booty concealed in a stalk of bamboo. one else. In the book of rites, Li-Ki, the cer- The legend says that once upon a time, when emonies performed at the harvest are carefully Kothan did not yet possess the precious bomdescribed. Even the empress did not disdain byx, the king of one of the provinces sought to gather the leaves of the mulberry with her and obtained a daughter of the Chinese einown dainty fingers, and watched over the rear. peror in marriage. Before quitting her native ing of the busy toilers of the cocoon. For a land she hid seeds of the mulberry and silk. long time this invaluable industry remained worms' eggs in her hair, where it would escape the exclusive property of the Chinese Empire, the vigilance of the customs officers on the but about the third century before the Chris. frontier. When she reached her new home tian era a military expedition from China bore she planted the seeds of the mulberry in order the results of its civilization to the startled that suitable nourishment might be provided Occident. Silk became known in Persia and l in the leaf for the worms.
Fifth Series, Volume XLIX.
No. 2123.- February 28, 1885,
557 566 575
ON AN OLD SONG,
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. For Eight DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGB will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.
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Single Numbers of The LIVING AGE, 18 cents.
ON AN OLD SONG.
And old beliefs grow faint and few LITTLE snatch of ancient song
As knowledge moulds the world anew, What has made thee live so long?
And scatters far and wide the seeds Flying on thy wings of rhyme
Of other hopes and other creeds;
And all in vain we seek to trace
The fortunes of the coming race,
Some with fear and some with hope,
None can cast its horoscope.
Vap'rous lamp or rising star,
Many a light is seen afar, W bence has come thy lasting power?
And dim shapeless figurer loom By what turn of rhythm or phrase,
All around us in the glocha – By what subtle, careless grace,
Forces that may rise and reign Can thy music charm our ears
As the old ideals wail-. After full three hundred years?
Landmarks of the human mind, Little song, since thou wert born
One by one are left behind, In the Reformation morn,
And a subtle change is wrought How much great has past away,
In the mould and cast of thought. Shattered or by slow decay!
Modes of reasoning pass away, Stately piles in ruins crumbled,
Types of beauty lose their sway, Lordly houses lost or humbled,
Creeds and causes that have made Thrones and realms in darkness hurled, Many noble lives, must fade; Noble flags forever furled,
And the words that thrilled of old Wisest schemes by statesmen spun,
Now seem hueless, dead, and cold; Time has seen them one by one
Fancy's rainbow tints are flying, Like the leaves of autumn fall
Thoughts, like men, are slowly dying ; A little song outlives them all.
All things perish, and the strongest
Often do not last the longest; There were mighty scholars then
The stately ship is seen no more, With the slow, laborious pen
The fragile skiff attains the shore ; Piling up their works of learning,
And while the great and wise decay, Men of solid, deep discerning,
And all their trophies pass away, Widely famous as they taught
Some sudden thought, some careless rhyme, Systems of connected thought,
Still floats above the wrecks of time. Destined for all future ages.
W. E. H. LECKY. Now the cobweb binds their pages,
Art thou weary, little song,
Dear wife and perfect friend; my household
queen, With watchful care making my home so
Like melody itself the brain to clear
Of o'erspun tissue of thought's atmosphere By gracious fancies where God's hand nach
The grosser spirit's earthly strain reprove,
Arm us anew with his whole armor - - Love.
The pulse of thought is beating quicker,
SECRET PAPERS OF THE SECOND
From The Edinburgh Review. submitted to the control of the govern
ment of the national defence. After
publication the original documents, careBy a decree published in the Journal fully catalogued, were deposited in the Officiel of the French Republic on Sep national archives. Tember 7, 1870, the minister of the inte
Such is the account, given with all the rior appointed a commission charged with dry precision of an official report, of a the collection, classification, and publica. publication of a more startling nature than tion of the papers and correspondence of often comes within the purview of the histhe imperial family which had been seized torian. Amid the portentous echoes of at the Tuileries on the overthrow of the the time, when the ears of men empire, three days before. The president stunned by such tidings as those of the of this conmission was M. André Laver. capitulation of Sedan, the collapse of the tujon, who, on October 12, addressed a empire, the siege of Paris, and the deathreport to M. Jules Favre, then interim struggle of France, it might well be the minister of the interior, indicating the case that items of what might almost be progress made up to that date by the com- called personal gossip, which in less tem. mission, and suggesting the appointment pestuous times would have rung through of M. Taxile Delord, Laurent.Pichat, and
Europe, would appear dwarfed to undue Ludovic Lalaune, to replace MM. de
proportions by the terrible news of each Kératry, Estancelin, and André Cochut, day. We are not prepared to say that who had been called to the exercise of
effort was made by those who were other functions, the first-named of the most compromised by the papers
ques. three being made prefect of police. This tion to collect and to destroy the published report, approved and countersigned by copies. But the rarity of the volume — M. Jules Favre, states that on September only one other copy than the one before 24, the first fasciculus of the papers in us having met our eyes, and that on the question had been published; that fascic- table of an ambassador — certainly tends uli, composed each of two octavo leaves, to confirm that not unnatural supposition. had succeeded nearly every other day; At all events it will be, as the commission and that the contents of a volume of five has said, " in the interest of truth” to adhundred pages had been already passed duce a few of the proofs thus unexpect. through the press. Copies of each num-edly furnished of what the second empire ber, as they appeared, had been sent to
cost France. the public prints; and not only had most It is difficult to approach an enquiry of of the documents been republished by the kind without a strong sense of the them in entirety, but counterfeits had been grim humor of the event. The ink will circulated among the public, with which hardly run from the pen without leaving the commission had not regarded it as traces of a certain amount of malice, using any part of their duty to intersere. The the word in its French, and not in its En. commission insist, in a brief preface, that glish, sense. That those very documents the publication of these papers has an which, by reason of their intimately priabsolutely official and impersonal charac. vate nature, should be entrusted to no ter, the work having been undertaken in minister, secretary, or archivist, but kept the sole interest of the truth. The com- in the personal custody of the sovereign mission, according to the preface, did not himself, should be thus collected, kept, judge – it simply drew up an inventory; and at last made public for the special it attempted no polemical work, but im- service and delectation of King Mob, is a partially prepared the materials of history. new incident of the drama of la Répub. The documents, copied under the respon- lique dans les carrosses du Roi.* The sibility of the secretaries to the commis. sion, were examined by the president, and • A similar incident had, however, twice before oc
curred in the course of the French Revolution, when * Papiers et Correspondance de la Famille Im- the mob broke into the Tuileries, and pillaged the périale. Paris: 1870.
private papers of the sovereign. The documents found