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their abode in distant continents; when the sceptre shall have passed away from England; when, perhaps, travellers from distant regions shall in vain labor to decipher on some mouldering pedestal the name of our proudest chief; shall hear savage hymr.s chanted to some misshapen idol over the ruined dume of our proudest temple; and shall see a single naked fisherman wash his nets in the river of ten thousand masts,-her influence and her glory will still survive, fresh in eternal youth, exempt from mutability and decay, immortal as the intellectual principle from which they derived their origin, and over which they exercise their control.
Review of Mitford's History of Greece.
Charles Dickens, one of the greatest novelists of all time, was born in 1812. When of proper age he began to study law, but abandoned it, and became a reporter for a London newspaper. While thus employed he began writing “Sketches of Life and Character," which were afterwards collected as Sketches by Boz. They were well received, and thus encouraged he went on producing novel after novel, winning fortune and fame, until 1870, when he died.
It was Dickens's mission to portray the lives of the poor' and lowly; to delineate their wrongs and wretchedness; to show that purity, goodness, and true nobility may dwell in the hovel as well as in the palace, and thus to preach humanity to man. For this his genius was admirably fitted; and it is impossible to estimate the amount of good his writings have done, the number of tears they have wiped away, the amount of innocent and healthy amusemen; they have given.
Among the best of his novels (for all are good, though in difierent degrees) are-Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Our Mutual Friend, The Old Curiosity Shop, Great Expectations, and Christmas Stories.
There is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, sincere earn
I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.
When death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he sets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes. In the destroyer's steps, there spring up bright creations that defy his power, and his dark path becomes a way of light to heaven.
William Makepeace Thackeray, another great novelist, was born in 1811. He received a good education, and afterwards studied painting for some years, intending to make himself an artist. He did become an artist, and a great one, too, but not in the way he intended. Instead of an artist of the pencil he became an artist of the pen.
If we compare Thackeray and Dickens, it is impossible to say which was the greater. Probably they were equally great, though in different ways. Thackeray had the wider culture; Dickens, the greater genius. The former held up to ridicule the follies of the higher classes of society ; the latter reached the same result by describing the miseries of the lower. Thus both labored for the good of society and placed themselves among the benefactors of the race.
Among the greatest of Thackeray's novels are- -Vanity Fair, Pendennis, Henry Esmond, The Virginians (a sequel to Esmond), and The Newcomes. Besides these he is the author of two admirable courses of lectures on The Four Georges and The Engglish Humorists, which contain some of the finest criticism in the language.
If fun is good, truth is better, and love best of all.
Might I give counsel to any young hearer, I would say to him, Try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and life, that is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what great men admired; they admired great things: narrow spirits admire basely, and worship meanly.
English Humorists, Lecture IV.
LORD LYTTON. 1805-1873. Sir Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (formerly Bulwer), who was born in 1805, and died in 1873, is another novelist of the first class. Indeed, Dickens, Thackeray, and Bulwer-Lytton may be said to form the great triumvirate of Victorian novelists, legitiniate and worthy successors of the great “ Wizard”* of the preceding age. Which is the greatest is a matter of opinion, some preferring one, some another. Lord Lytton is more learned and metaphysical than the others, and seems to delight in the region of the magical and supernatural, as in Zanoni and A Strange Story. Most of his characters are drawn from high life, with which he was most familiar, and he particularly excels in the delineation of love.
His principal works are—Pelham, Eugene Aram, The Last Days of Pompeii, Rienzi, The Caxtons, and Kenelm Chillingly, the latter published since his death. He is also author of two excellent dramas, Richelieu and The Lady of Lyons, and a number of
poems and poetical translations.
There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world, either to get a good name or to supply the want of it.
Reading without purpose is sauntering, rot exercise. More is go from one book on which the thought settles for a definite end in knowledge, than from libraries skimined over by a wandering eye. A cottage flower gives honey to the bee,-a king's garden none to the butterfly.
* Scott is often called “ The Wizard of the North."
GEORGE ELIOT. 1820-1880.
“George Eliot” (Miss Mary Ann C. Evans, Mis. Lewes, Mrs. Cross) was the greatest female novelist that England has produced, and the greatest, probably (unless George Sand be an exception), that ever lived. She was as supreme in fiction as Mrs.. Somerville in science and Mrs. Browning in poetry.
Her principal novels are-Scenes of Clerical Life, Silas Marner, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Romola, Felix Holt the Radical, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda. She also published a number of poems, of which The Spanish Gypsy, a drama, is the best.
George Eliot was the reputed-wife for many years of George H. Lewes, author of a History of Philosophy and other works. After his death, which occurred in 1878, she was married to Mr. John Walter Cross, and soon after died (in 1880).
Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.
O the anguish of that thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them, for the light answers we returned to their plaints or their pleadings, for the little reverence we showed to that sacred human soul that lived so close to us, and was the divinest thing God has given us to know !
SIR WM. HAMILTON. 1788–1856.
Sir William Hamilton was born in 1788, educated at Oxford, afterwards studied law, was for thirty-five years a professor in the University of Edinburgh, and died in 1856. He was the greatest mental philosopher of his age, probably the greatest of all time. Not that he was a greater thinker or added more to the science of mind than Aristotle or Locke or even than Reid, of whom he was a disciple; but that he knew more, possessing as he did the accumulated learning of all the others, increased by the results of his own reasoning. And great as was his command
over all the stores of learning, ancient and modern, his mastery over the power of expression was scarcely less remarkable. His style has been pronounced "a model of philosophical writing.”
His principal works are his Essays from the Edinburgh Review, his Edition of Reid's Works, and his Lectures.
As concerns the quantity of what is to be read, there is a single rule,—Read much, but not many works (multum non multa).
DARWIN. 1809-1882. Charles Darwin, F. R. S., an eminent naturalist and the chief advocate of the “ Darwinian (or evolution) Theory," was born in 1809, and died in 1882. His principal works are- :- The Variation of Animals and Plants, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Expression in Man and Animals.
[The following extract is given, partly to exhibit the author's style, and partly to show how complacently he accepts the result of his own theory.]
There can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians.. [And] he who has seen a savage in his native land will not feel much shame, if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins. For my own part, I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs,-as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practises infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.
CARLYLE. 1795-1881. Thomas Carlyle, one of the most original and vigorous writers of the age, was born in Scotland in 1795, and was educated at the University of Edinburgh. He was a worshipper of power, whether mental, physical, or political; and his chief heroes were lubammed, Cromweil, Napoleon, and Frederick the Great. He