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mate method. And the history of of science. He is energetic in disits preliminary tentatives and curi- carding authority and fixing his ous deviations from the right path eyes on the realities of nature. becomes a subject of interesting Yet, on other occasions, he relapses study to those who would trace the into a slavish respect for authority, development of the human mind. or into vague and fanciful speculaBut we would observe that the true tions. method differs from the false, not No writer has more distinctly in introducing any absolutely new brought before us the inevitable rules or practices, but in adhering disadvantages of “historical posito good practices and refraining tion” which the early prosecutor from bad. At no era, when men of science laboured under than Mr were sufficiently intelligent to occu- Lewes. Thus while he, with rigid py themselves with the pursuit of impartiality, points out the defects knowledge for the sake of know- of Aristotle, he at the same time ledge, was the paramount necessity furnishes the fullest excuse for of the observation of facts for a them. We sincerely hope that this moment denied ; at no time would volume he has given us will be the experiment or verification be other- precursor or instalment of a larger wise than highly valued ; at no work unfolding the development of time would a “generalisation, bas- science. It will, if prosecuted in ed upon induction,” fail to be the same manner as the present appreciated. But such generalisa- specimen, be a work as instructive tions are of slow growth, and mean- in modern science as in ancient or while one must reason on things medieval. For this contrast bearound us, and something is seized tween old mistake and latest disupon and called a principle, and covery leads, as we have said, to held up as a torch to try if nature perhaps the most attractive and imcan be seen thereby. Based on the pressive manner of expounding the first data of the senses, we have truths of science. In this respect wrought out for ourselves certain our space has not permitted us to lavos of motion—but how slowly! do justice to the present volume. Wanting these inductions, the ac- It is full of interesting views or tive-minded man (and who will glimpses of the last achievements quarrel with his activity ? stray as of science ; so that even he who is he will, he will find something, if careless of Aristotle, or indifferent, not the thing he sought) conjures or opposed to the abstract stateup some laws of motion out of ments he may meet with about fancied analogies between his own induction, or causation, and the haman movements and those he like, will yet find the book entersees in the inanimate creation. The taining from the choice illustrations true method differs from the false drawn from the science of the day. in adhering more and more to the Nor in these days of light reading, good practices and dropping the and easy writing, should the indusbad ; and happily the adherence to try and laborious application inthe good practice becomes more easy volved in such a work as this be at every advance in knowledge, till forgotten. Mr Lewes has not been at length the deviation from it be- contented with quotations or transcomes the exception and the rarity. lations made by others : he has
Those who have read critically read extensively, and, above all, the works of Roger Bacon assure must have patiently made his way us that he occasionally lays down through those works of Aristotle with as much precision as his suc- which even scholars are contented cessor Francis Bacon the true aims to have glanced at.
VICTOR HUGO ON SHAKESPEARE.
A WILD, disorderly, insane book! equalled; which at times reminds -50 one critic might characterise us of nothing so much as those this work of Victor Hugo's. A noble translations of Virgil that schoolbook, full of generous sentiments boys make, “I sing arms and a man." and bursts of audacious eloquence! At times this literalism succeeds re-So might another critic, with equal markably well; but it is a mere justice, describe it. Both sentences chance. Being, so far as we have exwould be just. Never were genius amined, as accurate as he is literal, and madness brought so near to- this dogged fidelity meets occasiongether as in these pages of Victor ally with its reward. He seems to Hugo; never, surely, did so much have felt that no skilful treatment flagrant absurdity find itself side by on his part, no delicate handling, side with what is truly admirable. no dexterous qualification or happy Even in point of style the contra- compromise, would avail to shield dictions are unexampled. At one the fastidious reader from many a time coarse, and abrupt even to rude shock to his nerves. Thereabsurdity; it is, at another time, fore he declines to take upon himbroad and massive as the sculpture self the least feeling of responsibiof Michael Angelo : again, on other lity. He plods on from word to occasions, it will weary us with word; it is the dictionary transsentences made intolerably long by lates, not he. It is Victor Hugo the mere enumeration of names or who chooses the path; he follows useless repetition of examples. Him- step for step. Sometimes a referself the greatest scourge of pedants, ence to the original throws a light he is more open than any modern upon the translation,* but, in geneauthor we know to the charge of ral, it must be confessed that the pedantry—if it be pedantry to rake profound obscurity you occasionally together names of men and books meet with in the English is but a for no apparent purpose but the dis- too faithful copy of the profound play of extensive reading.
obscurity of the French. The English translator had a dif- As we have said, the work itself ficult task before him. It might defies criticism. It is useless to raise well have thrown into despair the objections or detect faults: absurmost consummate master of our dities are too numerous and glarlanguage. Mr A. Baillot (such is ing; they seem perfectly conscious the name on the title-page) evidently of themselves, and defy you. Yet looked upon his undertaking, from it would be a still greater mistake the commencement, as a quite des- to adopt a tone of derision or of conperate affair. The difficulties were tempt. Ridicule is soon checked immense; therefore he resolved, by some terrible earnestness, and once for all, to make no effort to by a display of power that forces encounter them. He starts off at respect. One cannot laugh comfortonce, and continues throughout his ably at the gambols of a giant. whole course with a dogged literal. What if he should come too near ism such as we have never seen where we ourselves are standing?
William Shakespeare:' par Victor Hugo. William Shakespeare:' by Victor Hugo: authorised English Translation.
* At p. 132 is an amusing illustration of the translator's very literal method. Victor Hugo, speaking of the ironical or burlesque in art, says, “Behind the gri. mace, philosophy makes its appearance. A philosophy smooth," &c. The word rendered "smooth" is “déridée." A cheerful philosophy would be the natural expression ; but the translator went down to the root, so he wrote “a philosophy smooth." He might at least have smoothed the brow of his philosophy.
If Achilles should issue from his feet of that magnificent statue to tent and race madly about the field, Shakespeare which was to be ungoing through his martial exercises veiled to the public on this auspiin some wild maniacal fashion, yet cious day. “I dedicate," he says, now and then throwing his heavy “to England this glorification of spear with truest aim and marvel- her poet.'” He, too, has been scanlous power, we should look on with dalised that Shakspeare should have more of gravity than mirth. And no monument in our streets or some such impression is produced squares. The fact is undeniable. by this Titan amongst writers. Throughout all the length of CheapThere is no proposition so rash or side, before the Exchange, or the monstrous that he fears to assert it; Lord Mayor's, in Piccadilly, in Rotthere is no word so harsh, rude, or ten Row, no statue of the poet !grotesque that he will not use it. no monument against which some Sometimes this terrible rhetorician fellow-poet might lean in reverence! heaps word on word, adds name to -no statue to teach aspiring youth name, till he leaves us stunned and whose dramas they should read, senseless at the end of his lengthy whose plays they should run to see paragraph. Sometimes he plays acted! Woeful deficiency! Mark with the facts of history with all how he mourns it! and how generthe petty dexterity of a conjuror, ously he congratulates us on having bringing them together from remote at length wiped this stigma from epochs for the sake of a little flash, our brow. a conceit, a contrast; as if the cloudcompelling Jove were to bring up
"When one arrives in England, the
first thing he looks for is the statue of his clouds from the north to the
Shakespeare. He finds the statue of south merely to produce a faint Wellington. electric spark. This man, as coarse “ Wellington is a general who gained as Swift, is as tricksy as Dumas. It a battle, with Chance for his partner. would weary the most indefatigable “If you insist on seeing Shakespeare's critic to follow him through all his statue, you are taken to a place called rhetorical offences. But then he Westminster, where there are kings
a crowd of kings. There is also a corner is a Titan. You see that oak—he
called “Poets' Corner.' There, in the split it at one blow. After all the
shade of four or five magnificent monu
shade of four or five clang and discord and endless fugue ments, where some royal nobodies shine of some distracted orchestra, there in marble and bronze, is shown to you, comes out a burst of music which on a small pedestal, a little figure, and reminds you of a chorus of Han- under this little figure this name, ‘WILdel's.
“In addition to this, statues every. It is to that foolish festival of
of where... . Everywhere, in every the Tercentenary, of which we hope street, in every square, at every step, we shall hear nothing more, that gigantic notes of admiration in the shape we owe this book, or at least that of columns : a column to the Duke of we owe its dedication to England, York, which should, this one, take the and the precise form it has taken.
form of a note of interrogation, .. It seems that the son of the author,
At Guernsey, by the seaside, on a pro
montory, there is a high column, similar M. François Victor Hugo, has trans
to a lighthouse--almost a tower. Æschylated, or is translating, into French lus would have contented himself with the Dramas of Shakespeare; and the it. For whom is this ! For General father prepared a preface, in which Doyle. Who is General Doyle? A he discoursed of poetic genius in general. What has this general done! general, and that of Shakespeare in He has constructed roads. At his own
el expense? No; at the expense of the inparticular. Our “Grand National ex
habitants. A column !" Festival” suggested the idea of publishing this preface—with some If such is the fungus-growth of modifications, we presume-as a se- statnes — if any one who, dying, parate work, and laying it at the leaves a regret behind him, and two or three busy, ostentatious friends able for England, indifferent to who, by their importunities, are Shakespeare.' able to scrape together the neces- cod monument "h sary funds,-can have a statue, why “is an example. The lofty head of a should we be very anxious to claim great man is a light. Crowds, like the the corners of our streets, or the waves, require beacons above them. It dust of our park, for an effigy of is good that the passer-by should know Shakespeare ? Why must Shake- there are great men. People may not speare compete with General Doyle? have time to read ; they are forced to
* see. By all means let General Doyle
People pass by that way, and see..
stumble against the pedestal ; they are have his tower. He was, in some almost obliged to raise the head and fashion, the beneficent genius of to glance a little at the inscription. Guernsey. He did not, indeed, Men escape a book, they cannot escape make its roads with his own money, the statue. One day, on the bridge of nor with his own hands; but he Rouen, before the beautiful statue due made them. nevertheless, by his to David d'Angers, a peasant, mounted
on an ass, said to me, ‘Do you know energy, perseverance, public spirit.
L. Pierre Corneille ?' 'Yes,' I replied. A statue might be an honour to
"So do I,' he rejoined. And do you him ; what could it be to Shake- know thé Cid ?' I resumed. “No,' said he. speare?
“To him Corneille was the statue." Nothing at all, you say ; but it An amusing anecdote, which does will be an honour to ourselves. not, however, very happily illustrate For our own sakes we ought to the efficacy of teaching by statues. cultivate the feelings of reverence The peasant on his ass looked up at and admiration for the great in the statue, and made acquaintance tellects that have lived amongst us. with it, and knew Corneille quite This is true; and if raising statues satisfactorily. Corneille was to him is one means of cultivating such feel that bronze or marble. ings of reverence and admiration,
But England's disgrace is now at raise the statue.' We doubt the
the an end. efficacy of the means ; but, at all
"At the very moment we finished events, raise the statue where it
writing the pages you have just read, has some chance of inspiring rever
was announced in London the formation ence. Build your temple to great of a committee for the solemn celebra. men. Collect under its solemn tion of the three hundredth anniversary roof all your great, all that have of the birth of Shakespeare. This comconspicuously helped to rear and mittee will dedicate to Shakespeare, on nourish the mind of the nation. If the 23d April 1864, a monument and a a genuine national movement should festival, which will surpass, we doubt
not, the incomplete programme we have arise, prompting honours to the just sketched out. They will spare nodead for the sake of the living, for thing. The act of admiration will be the sake of the present and future a striking one. . . . Every conficulture of England, it will not limit dence is due to the Jubilee Committee itself to one name, however great ; of Shakespeare-a committee composed it will, of necessity, from the very
of persons highly distinguished in the
press, the peerage, literature, the stage, nature of the object proposed, em
and the Church. Eminent men from brace all that England has pro- all countries, representing intellect in duced of eminence in poetry, France, in Germany, in Belgium, in science, or philosophy.
Spain, in Italy, complete this committee, Victor Hugo, we may be sure, in all points of view excellent and comsees in the monument an honour
petent. Another committee formed at which England pays to itself, not
Stratford-on-Avon seconds the London
committee. We congratulate England." to Shakespeare. After describing an imaginary programme, in which The congratulation was a little the Commons, the Peers, and premature. But pass we on to Queen Victoria, all take their seve- Victor Hugo's contribution to the ral parts, he says, “It is honour- “ glorification” of our poet. It
opens with a brief sketch of the Juvenal, Molière under Rabelais; life of Shakespeare, which we shall and you ask why, if there are debe readily excused from following. grees of merit between Molière and Victor Hugo seizes hold of the few Rabelais, there are none between traditional incidents which make Rabelais and Juvenal, or Juvenal up what is popularly called the life and Æschylus ? What is it that of Shakespeare. Of the man's life constitutes these men of the first we really know nothing. That line a separate class, so that they these materials are not submitted are unapproachable, and not open to much critical investigation, may to comparison even amongst thembe judged from the following in selves? The answer is, They possess stance :
the Infinite! They have attained “Shakespeare's life was greatly em. the Absolute ! Many distinguished bittered. He lived perpetually slighted; men, Sophocles, Plato, Virgil, and he states it himself. Shakespeare had others that he names, have excelpermanently near him one envious per- lences of their own, and may be free son, Ben Jonson, an indifferent comic from the apparent blemishes of poet, whose début he assisted."
these giants of the human race, but But the author soon quits Shake- they have not the Infinite. speare to launch into general discus
“What fails them? That which the sions upon men of genius, art and others havescience, the aims of poetry, and the "That is the Unknown. like, Shakespeare reappearing from “That is the Infinite. time to time to receive his meed “If Corneille had that'he would be of praise. There is no apparent the equal of Æschylus. If Milton had method in the book. We might
that,' he would be the equal of Homer.
If Molière had 'that,' he would be the begin at the end, or in the middle,
equal of Shakespeare." read the chapters in what order we pleased, we should not find the To reason against such infinite confusion increased, nor the effect nonsense would be almost as absurd diminished of those admirable pas- as to assert it. Some of our own sages we should occasionally stum- writers are extremely fond of apble on.
plying the word infinite to works Here is a novel theory of criti- of art. What they mean by it they cism,
have never taken the trouble to “Supreme art is the region of equals.
tell us. Perhaps they may gather
tell us. " The chef-d'æuvre is adequate to the a useful hint from the reductio chef-d'eurre.
ad absurdum which is here pre** As water when heated to 100° C. sented to them of their favourite is incapable of calorific increase, and
mode of criticism. A sense of the can rise no higher, so human thought infinite we can understand: but attains in certain men its maximum intensity. Æschylus, Job, Phidias,
this belongs to the nature of the Isaiah, St Paul, Juvenal, Dante, Michel
subject, and cannot be a test of the Angelo, Rabelais, Cervantes, Shake. merit of the artist. speare, Rembrandt, Beethoven, with If a list were to be drawn up of some others, mark the 100° of genius. the equal chiefs of literature, no «« The human mind has a summit.
two men would perhaps insert the " This summit is the Ideal.
same names in it; and certainly “God descends, man rises to it."
there is not another man living who You are a little surprised at the would draw up the same list of list presented to you of men of these Infinites as Victor Hugo has genius who have reached the sum- done. Who but he would have mit, and sit each one on his own picked out Juvenal from all the throne. You are told that there Romans, or Rabelais from all the are men of genius of a secondary Frenchmen?. Who but he would order ranging under these, Milton have put these two on a line with under Shakespeare, Horace under Homer and Shakespeare? A curi