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thither; these are the salvation of any curious Hero-worship, in that last act of Time. But I liken common, languid his life when they “stifle him under roses." Times, with their unbelief, distress, per- It has always seemed to me extremely plexity, with their languid, doubting char- curious, this of Voltaire. Truly, if Chrisacters and embarrassed circumstances, tianity be the highest instance of Heroimpotently crumbling-down into worship, then we may find here in Volworse distress towards final ruin ; - all taireism one of the lowest! He whose life this I liken to dry, dead fuel, waiting for was that of a kind of Antichrist, does the lightning out of Heaven that shall again on this side exhibit a curious conkindle it. The great man, with his free trast. No people ever were so little prone force direct out of God's own hand, is the to admire at all as those French of Vollightning. His word is the wise, healing taire. Persiflage was the character of word which all can believe in. All blazes their whole mind; adoration had nowhere round him now, when he has once struck a place in it.
Yet see! The old man of on it, into fire like his own. The dry, Ferney comes up to Paris ; an old, tottermouldering sticks are thought to have ing, infirm man of eighty-four years. called him forth. They did want him They feel that he too is a kind of Hero; greatly; but as to calling him forth — ! - that he has spent his life in opposing error Those are critics of small vision, I think, and injustice, delivering Calases, unmaskwho cry: “See, is it not the sticks that ing hypocrites in high places ; — in short made the fire?” No sadder proof can be that he too, though in a strange way, has given by a man of his own littleness than fought like a valiant man. They feel disbelief in great men.
There is no sadder withal that, if persiflage be the great thing, symptom of a generation than such gen- there never was such a persifleur. He is eral blindness to the spiritual lightning, the realised ideal of every one of them; with faith only in the heap of barren, dead the thing they are all wanting to be; of fuel. It is the last consummation of un- all Frenchmen the most French. He is belief. In all epochs of the world's his- properly their god, -- such god as they are tory, we shall find the Great Man to have fit for. Accordingly all persons, from the been the indispensable saviour of his Queen Antoinette to the Douanier at the epoch ; -- the lightning, without which Porte St. Denis, do they not worship him? the fuel never would have burnt. The People of quality disguise themselves as History of the World, I said already, was tavern-waiters. The Maître de Poste, the Biography of Great Men.
with a broad oath, orders his Postillion, Such small critics do what they can to "Va bon train; thou art driving M. de promote unbelief and universal spiritual Voltaire." At Paris his carriage is "the paralysis: but happily they cannot always nucleus of a comet, whose train fills whole completely succeed. In all times it is streets.” The ladies pluck a hair or two possible for a man to arise great enough from his fur, to keep it as a sacred relic. to feel that they and their doctrines are There was nothing highest, beautifulest, chimeras and cobwebs. And what is noblest in all France, that did not feel this notable, in no time whatever can they man to be higher, beautifuler, nobler. entirely eradicate out of living men's Yes, from Norse Odin to English Samuel hearts a certain altogether peculiar rev- Johnson, from the divine Founder of erence for Great Men; genuine admira- Christianity to the withered Pontiff of tion, loyalty, adoration, however dim and Encyclopedism, in all times and places, perverted it may be. Hero-worship en- the Hero has been worshipped. It will dures forever while man endures. Bos- ever be so. We all love great men; love, well venerates his Johnson, right truly venerate, and bow down submissive before even in the Eighteenth century. The great men: nay, can we honestly bow unbelieving French believe in their Vol- down to anything else? Ah, does not taire; and burst-out round him into very every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really like a Hercules! That will be thy better above him? No nobler or more blessed plan. feeling dwells in man's heart. And to me It has been written, “an endless signifiit is very cheering to consider that no scep- cance lies in Work”; a man perfects himtical logic, or general triviality, insin- self by working. Foul jungles are cleared cerity, and aridity of any Time and its away, fair seedfields rise instead, and influences can destroy this noble inborn stately cities; and withal the man himself loyalty and worship that is in man. In first ceases to be a jungle and foul unwholetimes of unbelief, which soon have to some desert thereby. Consider how, even become times of revolution, much down- in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole rushing, sorrowful decay and ruin is visible soul of a man is composed into a kind of to everybody. For myself in these days, real harmony, the instant he sets himself I seem to see in this indestructibility of to work! Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, ReHero-worship the everlasting adamant morse, Indignation, Despair itself, all lower than which the confused wreck of these like helldogs lie beleaguering the revolutionary things cannot fall. The soul of the poor day-worker, as of every confused wreck of things crumbling and man: but he bends himself with free valour even crashing and tumbling all round us, against his task, and all these are stilled, in these revolutionary ages, will get down all these shrink murmuring far off into their so far; no farther. It is an eternal corner- caves. The man is now a man. The stone, from which they can begin to build blessed glow of Labour in him, is it not as themselves up again. That man, in some purifying fire, wherein all poison is burnt sense or other, worships Heroes; that we up, and of sour smoke itself there is made all of us reverence and must ever reverence bright blessed flame! Great Men: this is, to me, the living rock Destiny, on the whole, has no other way amid all rushings-down whatsoever;- of cultivating us. A formless Chaos, once the one fixed point in modern revolution- set it revolving, grows round and ever ary history, otherwise as if bottomless and rounder; ranges itself, by mere force of shoreless.
gravity, into strata, spherical courses; is
no longer a Chaos, but a round compacted LABOUR
World. What would become of the Earth, did she cease to revolve?
old From PAST AND PRESENT
Earth, so long as she revolves, all inequalFor there is a perennial nobleness, and ities, irregularities disperse themselves; even sacredness, in Work. Were he never all irregularities are incessantly becoming so benighted, forgetful of his high calling, regular. Hast thou looked on the Potter's there is always hope in a man that actually wheel, one of the venerablest objects; and earnestly works: in Idleness alone is old as the Prophet Ezechiel and far older ? there perpetual despair. Work, never so Rude lumps of clay, how they spin themMammonish, mean, is in communication selves up, by mere quick whirling, into with Nature; the real desire to get. Work beautiful circular dishes. And fancy the done will itself lead one more and more to most assiduous Potter, but without his truth, to Nature's appointments and wheel; reduced to make dishes, or rather regulations, which are truth.
amorphous botches, by mere kneading and The latest Gospel in this world is, Know baking! Even such a Potter were Desthy work and do it. “Know thyself”: tiny, with a human soul that would rest long enough has that poor “self” of thine and lie at ease, that would not work and tormented thee; thou wilt never get to spin! Of an idle unrevolving man the "know” it, I believe! Think it not thy kindest Destiny, like the most assiduous business, this of knowing thyself; thou Potter without wheel, can bake and knead art an unknowable individual : know what nothing other than a botch ; let her spend thou canst work at; and work at it, on him what expensive colouring, what
In the poor
gilding and enamelling she will, he is Rough, rude, contradictory are all things but a botch. Not a dish; no, a bulg- and persons, from the mutinous masons ing, kneaded, crooked, shambling, squint- and Irish hodmen, up to the idle Nellcornered, amorphous botch, - a mere Gwyn Defenders, to blustering redtape enamelled vessel of dishonour! Let the Officials, foolish unarchitectural Bishops. idle think of this.
All these things and persons are there not Blessed is he who has found his work ; for Christopher's sake and his Cathedral's; let him ask no other blessedness. He has they are there for their own sake mainly! a work, a life-purpose; he has found it, and Christopher will have to conquer and conwill follow it! How, as a free-flowing strain all these, — if he is able. All these channel, dug and torn by noble force are against him. Equitable Nature herthrough the sour mud-swamp of one's self, who carries her mathematics and existence, like an ever-deepening river architectonics not on the face of her, but there, it runs and flows; — draining-off deep in the hidden heart of her, — Nature the sour festering water, gradually from the herself is but partially for him; will be root of the remotest grass-blade; making, wholly against him, if he constrain her not! instead of pestilential swamp, a green
His very money, where is it to come from? fruitful meadow with its clear-flowing The pious munificence of England lies stream. How blessed for the meadow far-scattered, distant, unable to speak, itself, let the stream and its value be great and say, “I am here”; must be spoken or small ! Labour is Life: from the in- to before it can speak. Pious munifimost heart of the Worker rises his god- cence, and all help, is so silent, invisible given Force, the sacred celestial Life- like the gods; impediment, contradictions essence breathed into him by Almighty manifold are so loud and near! O brave God; from his inmost heart awakens him Sir Christopher, trust thou in those notto all nobleness, — to all knowledge," self- withstanding, and front all these; under
, knowledge” and much else, so soon as stand all these; by valiant patience, Work fitly begins. Knowledge? The noble effort, insight, by man's strength, knowledge that will hold good in working, vanquish and compel all these, , -and, cleave thou to that; for Nature herself on the whole, strike down victoriously the accredits that, says Yea to that. Properly last topstone of that Paul's Edifice; thy thou hast no other knowledge but what monument for certain centuries, the stamp thou hast got by working: the rest is yet “Great Man" impressed very legibly on all a hypothesis of knowledge; a thing to Portland-stone there! be argued of in schools, a thing floating Yes, all manner of help, and pious rein the clouds, in endless logic-vortices, till sponse from Men or Nature, is always we try it and fix it. “Doubt, of whatever what we call silent; cannot speak or come kind, can be ended by Action alone.” to light, till it be seen, till it be spoken to.
And again, hast thou valued Patience, Every noble work is at first “impossible.” Courage, Perseverance, Openness to light; In very truth, for every noble work the readiness to own thyself mistaken, to do possibilities will lie diffused through Imbetter next time? All these, all virtues, mensity; inarticulate, undiscoverable exin wrestling with the dim brute Powers of cept to faith. Like Gideon thou shalt Fact, in ordering of thy fellows in such spread out thy fleece at the door of thy wrestle, there and elsewhere not at all, tent; see whether under the wide arch of thou wilt continually learn. Set down Heaven there by any bounteous moisture, a brave Sir Christopher in the middle of
Thy heart and life-purpose black ruined Stone-heaps, of foolish un- shall be as a miraculous Gideon's fleece, architectural Bishops, redtape Officials, spread out in silent appeal to Heaven: idle Nell-Gwyn Defenders of the Faith ; and from the kind Immensities, what from and see whether he will ever raise a Paul's the poor unkind Localities and town and Cathedral out of all that, yea or no! country Parishes there never could, blessed
dew-moisture to suffice thee shall have known to God only. Thou shalt be a fallen!
Yes, my World-Soldier, thou Work is of a religious nature: work of the World Marine-service, - thou wilt is of a brave nature; which it is the aim have to be greater than this tumultuous of all religion to be. All work of man is unmeasured World here round thee is : as the swimmer's: a waste ocean threatens thou, in thy strong soul, as with wrestler's to devour him; if he front it not bravely, arms, shalt embrace it, harness it down; it will keep its word. By incessant wise and make it bear thee on, — to new defiance of it, lusty rebuke and buffet of it, Americas, or whither God wills! behold how it loyally supports him, bears him as its conqueror along. “It is so,
REWARD says Goethe, with all things that man undertakes in this world.”
“RELIGION” I said; for, properly speakBrave Sea-captain, Norse Sea-king, ing, all true Work is Religion: and whatColumbus, my hero, royalest Sea-king of soever Religion is not Work may go and all! it is no friendly environment this of dwell among the Brahmins, Antinomians, thine, in the waste deep waters; around Spinning Dervishes, or where it will; with thee mutinous discouraged souls, behind me it shall have no harbor. Admirable thee disgrace and ruin, before thee the was that of the old Monks, “Laborare est unpenetrated veil of Night. Brother, Orare, Work is Worship.” these wild water-mountains, bounding Older than all preached Gospels was this from their deep bases (ten miles deep, I unpreached, inarticulate, but ineradicaam told), are not entirely there on thy ble, forever-enduring Gospel : Work, and behalf! Meseems they have other work therein have wellbeing. Man, Son of than floating thee forward: - and the Earth and of Heaven, lies there not, in the huge Winds, that sweep from Ursa Major innermost heart of thee, a Spirit of active to the Tropics and Equators, dancing their Method, a Force for Work; – and burns giant-waltz through the kingdoms of like a painfully-smouldering fire, giving Chaos and Immensity, they care little thee no rest till thou unfold it, till thou about filling rightly or filling wrongly the write it down in beneficent Facts around small shoulder-of-mutton sails in this thee! What is immethodic, waste, thou cockle-skiff of thine! Thou art not shalt make methodic, regulated, arable; among articulate-speaking friends, my obedient and productive to thee. Wherebrother; thou art among immeasurable soever thou findest Disorder, there is thy dumb monsters, tumbling, howling wide eternal enemy; attack him swiftly, subdue as the world here. Secret, far off, invisible him; make Order of him, the subject not to all hearts but thine, there lies a help in of Chaos, but of Intelligence, Divinity and them: see how thou wilt get at that. Thee! The thistle that grows in thy Patiently thou wilt wait till the mad path, dig it out, that a blade of useful Southwester spend itself, saving thyself grass, a drop of nourishing milk, may by dextrous science of defence, the while: grow there instead. The waste cottonvaliantly, with swift decision, wilt thou shrub, gather its waste white down, spin strike in, when the favouring East, the it, weave it; that, in place of idle litter, Possible, springs up. Mutiny of men there may be folded webs, and the naked thou wilt sternly repress; weakness, de- skin of man be covered. spondency, thou wilt cheerily encourage : But above all, where thou findest Igthou wilt swallow down complaint, un- norance, Stupidity, Brute-mindedness, reason, weariness, weakness of others and yes, there, with or without Church-tithes thyself ; - how much wilt thou swallow and Shovel-hat, with or without Talfourddown! There shall be a depth of Silence Mahon Copyrights, or were it with mere in thee, deeper than this Sea, which is but dungeons and gibbets and crosses, attack ten miles deep: a Silence unsoundable; it, I say; smite it wisely, unweariedly, and rest not while thou livest and it lives; tant Home, in honour; doubt it not, if but smite, smite, in the name of God! The in the battle thou keep thy shield! Thou, Highest God, as I understand it, does in the Eternities and deepest Deathaudibly so command thee; still audibly, kingdoms, are not an alien; thou everyif thou have ears to hear. He, even He, where art a denizen! Complain not; the with his unspoken voice, awfuler than any very Spartans did not complain. Sinai thunders or syllabled speech of And who art thou that braggest of thy Whirlwinds; for the SILENCE of deep life of Idleness; complacently showest thy
; Eternities, of Worlds from beyond the bright gilt equipages; sumptuous cushmorning-stars, does it not speak to thee? ions; appliances for folding of the hands The unborn Ages; the old Graves, with to mere sleep? Looking up, looking their long-mouldering dust, the very tears down, around, behind or before, discernest that wetted it now all dry, -- do not these thou, if it be not in Mayfair alone, any idle speak to thee, what ear hath not heard? hero, saint, god, or even devil? Not a The deep Death-kingdoms, the Stars in vestige of one. In the Heavens, in the their never-resting courses, all Space and Earth, in the Waters under the Earth, is all Time, proclaim it to thee in continual none like unto thee. Thou art an original silent admonition. Thou too, if ever man figure in this Creation; a denizen in Mayshould, shalt work while it is called To- fair alone, in this extraordinary Century day. For the Night cometh, wherein no or Half-Century alone! One monster man can work.
there is in the world: the idle man. What All true Work is sacred; in all true is his "Religion'? That Nature is a Work, were it but true hand-labour, there Phantasm, where cunning beggary or is something of divineness. Labour, wide
Labour, wide thievery may sometimes find good victual. as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven. That God is a lie; and that Man and his Sweat of the brow; and up from that to Life are a lie. Alas, alas, who of us is sweat of the brain, sweat of the heart; there that can say, I have worked? The which includes all Kepler calculations, faithfulest of us are unprofitable servants; Newton meditations, all Sciences, all the faithfulest of us know that best. The spoken Epics, all acted Heroisms, Martyr- faithfulest of us may say, with sad and doms,
Agony of bloody true old Samuel, “Much of my life has been sweat,” which all men have called divine! trifled away!” But he that has, and O brother, if this is not "worship," then I except “on public occasions” professes to say, the more pity for worship; for this is have, no function but that of going idle the noblest thing yet discovered under in a graceful or graceless manner; and of God's sky. Who art thou that complain- begetting sons to go idle; and to address est of thy life of toil? Complain not. Chief Spinners and Diggers, who at least Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fel- are spinning and digging, “Ye scandalous low Workmen there, in God's Eternity; persons who produce too much” – My surviving there, they alone surviving: Corn-Law friends, on what imaginary still sacred Band of the Immortals, celestial richer Eldorados, and true iron-spikes with Bodyguard of the Empire of Mankind. law of gravitation, are ye rushing ! Even in the weak Human Memory they survive so long, as saints, as heroes, as As to the Wages of Work there might gods; they alone surviving; peopling, innumerable things be said; there will and they alone, the unmeasured solitudes of must yet innumerable things be said and Time! To thee Heaven, though severe, spoken, in St. Stephen's and out of St.
, is not unkind; Heaven is kind, – as a Stephen's; and gradually not a few things noble Mother; as that Spartan Mother, be ascertained and written, on Lawsaying while she gave her son his shield, parchment, concerning this very matter :
With it, my son, or upon it!” Thou too “Fair day's-wages for a fair day's-work shalt return home in honour; to thy far-dis- is the most unrefusable demand! Money
up to that