On Heroes and Hero-Worship by Thomas Carlyle

This is the last of four series of lectures which Carlyle (see Vol. IX, p. 99) delivered in London in successive years, and is the only series which was published. The "Lectures on Heroes" were given in May, 1840, and were published, with emendations and additions, from the reporter's notes in 1841. The preceding series were on "German Literature," 1837; "The Successive Periods of European Culture," 1838; and "The Revolutions of Modern Europe," 1839. Carlyle's profound and impassioned belief in the quasi-divine inspiration of great men, in the authoritative nature of their "message," and in their historical effectiveness, was a reaction against a way of writing history which finds the origin of events in "movements," "currents," and "tendencies" neglecting or minimising the power of personality. For Carlyle, biography was the essential element in history; his view of events was the dramatic view, as opposed to the scientific view. It is idle to inquire which is the better or truer view, where both are necessary. But Carlyle is here specially tilting against a prejudice which has so utterly passed away that it is difficult even to imagine it. This was to the effect that eminent historical figures have been in some sense impostors. This work suffers a good deal from its origin, but, like others of Carlyle's writings, it has had great effect in discrediting a barren and flippant rationalism.

I.—The Hero as Divinity

We have undertaken to discourse on great men, their manner of appearance in our world's business, how they shaped themselves in the world's history, what ideas men formed of them, and what work they did. We are to treat of hero-worship and the heroic in human affairs. The topic is as wide as universal history itself, for the history of what man has accomplished in this world is, at bottom, the history of the great men who have worked here.

 It is well said that a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him. I do not mean the Church creed which he professes, but the thing that he does practically believe, the manner in which he feels himself to be spiritually related to the unseen world. Was it heathenism, a plurality of gods, a mere sensuous representation of the mystery of life, and for chief recognised element therein physical force? Was it Christianism; faith in an Invisible as the only reality; time ever resting on eternity; pagan empire of force displaced by the nobler supremacy of holiness? Was it scepticism, uncertainty, and inquiry whether there was an unseen world at all, or perhaps unbelief and flat denial? The answer to these questions gives us the soul of the history of the man or nation.

Odin, the central figure of Scandinavian paganism, shall be our emblem of the hero as divinity. And in the first place I protest against the theory that this paganism or any other religion has consisted of mere quackery, priestcraft, and dupery. Quackery gives birth to nothing; gives death to all. Man everywhere is the born enemy of lies, and paganism, to its followers, was at one time earnestly true. Nor can we admit that other theory, which attributed these mythologies to allegory, or to the play of poetic minds. Pagan religion, like every other, is indeed a symbol of what men felt about the universe, but a practical guiding knowledge of this mysterious life of theirs, and not a perfect poetic symbol of it, has been the want of men. The "Pilgrim's Progress" is a just and beautiful allegory, but it could never have preceded the faith which it symbolises. Men never risked their soul's life on allegories; there was a kind of fact at the heart of paganism.

To the primitive pagan thinker, who was simple as a child, yet had a man's depth and strength, nature had as yet no name. It stood naked, flashing in on him, beautiful, awful, unspeakable; nature was preternatural. The world, which is now divine only to the gifted, was then divine to whosoever would turn his eye upon it. Still more was the body of man, and the mystery of his consciousness, an emblem to them of God, and truly worshipful.

How much more, then, was the worship of a hero reasonable—the transcendent admiration of a great man! For great men are still admirable. At bottom there is nothing else admirable. Admiration for one higher than himself is to this hour the vivifying influence in man's life, and is the germ of Christianity itself. The greatest of all heroes is One whom we do not name here.

Without doubt there was a first teacher and captain of these northern peoples, an Odin palpable to the sense, a real hero of flesh and blood. Tradition calls him inventor of the Runes, or Scandinavian alphabet, and again of poetry. To the wild Norse souls this noble-hearted man was hero, prophet, god. That the man Odin, speaking with a hero's voice and heart, as with an impressiveness out of Heaven, told his people the infinite importance of valour, how man thereby became a god; and that his people believed this message of his, and thought it a message out of Heaven, and believed him a divinity for telling it to them—this seems to me the primary seed-grain of the Norse religion. For that religion was a sternly impressive consecration of valour.

II.—The Hero as Prophet

We turn now to Mohammedanism among the Arabs for the second phase of hero-worship, wherein the hero is not now regarded as a god, but as one God-inspired, a prophet. Mohammed is not the most eminent prophet, but is the one of whom we are freest to speak. Nor is he the truest of prophets but I do esteem him a true one. Let us try to understand what he meant with the world; what the world meant and means with him will then be more answerable.

Certainly he was no scheming impostor, no falsehood incarnate; theories of that kind are the product of an age of scepticism, and indicate the saddest spiritual paralysis. A false man found a religion? Why, a false man cannot build a brick house! No Mirabeau, Napoleon, Burns, Cromwell, no man adequate to do anything, but is first of all in right earnest about it. Sincerity is the great characteristic of all men in any way heroic.

The Arabs are a notable people; their country itself is notable. Consider that wide, waste horizon of sand, empty, silent like a sea; you are all alone there, left alone with the universe; by day a fierce sun blazing down with intolerable radiance; by night the great deep heaven, with its stars—a fit country for a swift-handed, deep-hearted race of men. The Arab character is agile, active, yet most meditative, enthusiastic. Hospitable, taciturn, earnest, truthful, deeply religious, the Arabs were a people of great qualities, waiting for the day when they should become notable to all the world.

Here, in the year 570 of our era, the man Mohammed was born, and grew up in the bosom of the wilderness, alone with Nature and his own thoughts. From an early age he had been remarked as a thoughtful man, and his companions named him "The Faithful." He was forty before he talked of any mission from Heaven. All this time living a peaceful life, he was looking through the shows of things into things themselves.

Then, having withdrawn to a cavern near Mecca for a month of prayer and meditation, he told his wife Kadijah that, by the unspeakable favour of Heaven, he was in doubt and darkness no longer, but saw it all. That all these idols and formulas were nothing; that there was one God in and over all; that God is great and is the reality. Allah akbar, "God is great"; and then Islam, "we must submit to Him."

This is yet the only true morality known. A man is right and invincible, while he joins himself to the great deep law of the world, in spite of all superficial laws, temporary appearances, profit-and-loss calculations. This is the soul of Islam, and is properly also the soul of Christianity. We are to receive whatever befalls us as sent from God above. Islam means in its way the denial of self, annihilation of self. This is yet the highest wisdom that Heaven has revealed to our earth. In Mohammed, and in his Koran, I find first of all sincerity, the total freedom from cant. For these twelve centuries his religion has been the guidance of a fifth part of mankind, and, above all, it has been a religion heartily believed.

The Arab nation was a poor shepherd people; a hero-prophet was sent down to them; within one century afterwards Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, at Delhi on that!

III.—The Hero as Poet

The hero as divinity and as prophet are productions of old ages, not to be repeated in the new. We are now to see our hero in the less ambitious, but also less questionable, character of poet. For the hero can be poet, prophet, king, priest, or what you will, according to the kind of world he finds himself born into. I have no notion of a truly great man that could not be all sorts of men.

Indeed, the poet and prophet, participators in the open secret of the universe, are one; though the prophet has seized the sacred mystery rather on its moral side, and the poet on the æsthetic side. Poetry is essentially a song; its thoughts are musical not in word only, but in heart and in substance.

Shakespeare and Dante are our two canonised poets; they dwell apart, none equal, none second to them. Dante's book was written, in banishment, with his heart's blood. His great soul, homeless on earth, made its home more and more in that awful other world. The three kingdoms—Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso—are like compartments of a great supernatural world-cathedral, piled up there, stern, solemn, awful; Dante's world of souls. It is the sincerest of all poems. Sincerity here, too, we find to be the measure of worth. Intensity is the prevailing character of his genius; his greatness lies in fiery emphasis and depth; it is seen even in the graphic vividness of his painting. Dante burns as a pure star, fixed in the firmament, at which the great and high of all ages kindle themselves.

As Dante embodies musically the inner life of the Middle Ages, so Shakespeare embodies for us its outer life, its chivalries, courtesies, humours, ambitions. Dante gave us the soul of Europe; Shakespeare gave us its body. Of this Shakespeare of ours, the best judgment of Europe is slowly pointing to the conclusion that he is the chief of all poets, the greatest intellect who has left record of himself in the way of literature.

It is in portrait-painting, the delineation of men, that the greatness of Shakespeare comes out most decisively. His calm, creative perspicacity is unexampled. The word that will describe the thing follows of itself from such clear intense sight of the thing. He takes in all kinds of men—a Falstaff, Othello, Juliet, Coriolanus; sets them all forth to us in their rounded completeness, loving, just, the equal brother of all.

The degree of vision that dwells in a man is a correct measure of the man, and Shakespeare's is the greatest of intellects. Novalis beautifully remarks of him that those dramas of his are products of nature, too, deep as nature herself. Shakespeare's art is not artifice; the noblest worth of it is not there by plan or pre-contrivance. The latest generations of men will find new meanings in Shakespeare, new elucidations of their own human being.

Shakespeare, too, was a prophet, in his way, of an insight analogous to the prophetic, though he took it up in another strain. Nature seemed to this man also divine, unspeakable, deep as Tophet, high as heaven. "We are such stuff as dreams are made of." There rises a kind of universal psalm out of Shakespeare, not unfit to make itself heard among the still more sacred psalms.

England, before long, this island of ours, will hold but a small fraction of the English; east and west to the antipodes there will be a Saxondom covering great spaces of the globe. What is it that can keep all these together into virtually one nation, so that they do not fall out and fight, but live at peace? Here, I say, is an English king whom no time or chance can dethrone! King Shakespeare shines over us all, as the noblest, gentlest, yet strongest of rallying-signs; we can fancy him as radiant aloft over all the nations of Englishmen, a thousand years hence. Truly it is a great thing for a nation that it gets an articulate voice.

IV.—The Hero as Priest

The priest, too, is a kind of prophet. In him, also, there is required to be a light of inspiration. He presides over the worship of the people, and is the uniter of them with the unseen Holy. He is their spiritual captain, as the prophet is their spiritual king with many captains.

Luther and Knox were by express vocation priests, yet it will suit us better here to consider them chiefly in their historical character as reformers. The battling reformer is from time to time a needful and inevitable phenomenon. Obstructions are never wanting; the very things that were once indispensable furtherances become obstructions, and need to be shaken off and left behind us—a business often of enormous difficulty.

We are to consider Luther as an idol-breaker, a bringer back of men to reality, for that is the function of great men and teachers. Thus it was that Luther said to the Pope, "This thing of yours that you call a pardon of sins, is a bit of rag-paper with ink. It, and so much like it, is nothing else. God alone can pardon sins. God's Church is not a semblance, Heaven and Hell are not semblances. Standing on this, I, a poor German monk, am stronger than you all."

The most interesting phase which the Reformation anywhere assumes is that of Puritanism, which even got itself established as a Presbyterianism and National Church among the Scotch, and has produced in the world very notable fruit. Knox was the chief priest and founder of that faith which became the faith of Scotland, of New England, of Oliver Cromwell; and that which Knox did for his nation we may really call a resurrection as from death. The people began to live. Scotch literature and thought, Scotch industry, James Watt, David Hume, Walter Scott, Robert Burns—I find Knox and the Reformation acting in the heart's core of every one of these persons and phenomena; I find that without the Reformation they would not have been.

Knox could not live but by fact. He is an instance to us how a man, by sincerity itself, becomes heroic. We find in Knox a good, honest, intellectual talent, no transcendent one; he was a narrow, inconsiderable man as compared with Luther; but in heartfelt, instinctive adherence to truth, in real sincerity, he has no superior. His heart is of the true prophet cast. "He lies there," said the Earl of Morton, at his grave, "who never feared the face of man."

V.—The Hero as Man of Letters

The hero as man of letters is a new and singular phenomenon. Living in his squalid garret and rusty coat; ruling from his grave after death whole nations and generations; he must be regarded as our most important modern person. Such as he may be, he is the soul of all. Intrinsically it is the same function which the old generations named a prophet, priest, or divinity for doing.

The three great prophets of the eighteenth century, that singular age of scepticism, were Johnson, Rousseau, and Burns; they were not, indeed, heroic bringers of the light, but heroic seekers of it, struggling under mountains of impediment.

As for Johnson, I have always considered him to be, by nature, one of our great English souls. It was in virtue of his sincerity, of his speaking still in some sort from the heart of nature, though in the current artificial dialect, that Johnson was a prophet. The highest gospel he preached was a kind of moral prudence, coupled with this other great gospel, "Clear your mind of cant!" These two things, joined together, were, perhaps, the greatest gospel that was possible at that time.

Of Rousseau and his heroism I cannot say so much. He was not a strong man; but a morbid, excitable, spasmodic man; at best, intense rather than strong. Yet, at least he was heartily in earnest, if ever man was; his ideas possessed him like demons.

The fault and misery of Rousseau was egoism, which is the source and summary of all faults and miseries whatsoever. He had not perfected himself into victory over mere desire; a mean hunger was still his motive principle. He was a very vain man, hungry for the praises of men. The whole nature of the man was poisoned; there was nothing but suspicion, self-isolation, and fierce, moody ways.

 And yet this Rousseau, with his celebrations of nature, even of savage life in nature, did once more touch upon reality and struggle towards reality. Strangely through all that defacement, degradation, and almost madness, there is in the inmost heart of poor Rousseau a spark of real heavenly fire. Out of all that withered, mocking philosophism, scepticism, and persiflage of his day there has arisen in this man the ineradicable feeling and knowledge that this life of ours is true, not a theorem, but a fact.

The French Revolution found its evangelist in Rousseau. His semi-delirious speculations on the miseries of civilised life, and such like, helped to produce a delirium in France generally. It is difficult to say what the governors of the world could do with such a man. What he could do with them is clear enough—guillotine a great many of them.

The tragedy of Burns's life is known to all. The largest soul of all the British lands appeared under every disadvantage; uninstructed, poor, born only to hard manual toil; and writing, when it came to that, in a rustic special dialect, known only to a small province of the country he lived in.

We find in Burns a noble, rough genuineness, the true simplicity of strength, and a deep and earnest element of sunshine and joyfulness; yet the chief quality, both of his poetry and of his life, is sincerity—a wild wrestling with the truth of things.

VI.—The Hero as King

The commander over men, to whose will our wills are to be subordinated and loyally surrender themselves, and find their welfare in doing so, may be reckoned the most important of great men. He is called Rex, "Regulator"; our own name is still better—king, which means "can-ning," "able-man."

 In rebellious ages, when kingship itself seems dead and abolished, Cromwell and Napoleon step forth again as kings. The old ages are brought back to us; the manner in which kings were made, and kingship itself first took rise, is again exhibited in the history of these two.

The war of the Puritans was a section of that universal war which alone makes up the true history of the world—the war of Belief against Unbelief; the struggle of men intent on the real essence of things, against men intent on the semblances and forms of things. And among these Puritans Cromwell stood supreme, grappling like a giant, face to face, heart to heart, with the naked truth of things. Yet Cromwell alone finds no hearty apologist anywhere. Selfish ambition, dishonesty, duplicity; a fierce, coarse, hypocritical Tartuffe; turning all that noble struggle for constitutional liberty into a sorry farce played for his own benefit. This, and worse, is the character they give him.

From of old, this theory of Cromwell's falsity has been incredible to me. All that we know of him betokens an earnest, hearty sincerity. Everywhere we have to note his decisive, practical eye, how he drives towards the practicable, and has a genuine insight into what is fact. Such an intellect does not belong to a false man; the false man sees false shows, plausibilities, expediences; the true man is needed to discern even practical truth.

Napoleon by no means seems to me so great a man as Cromwell. His enormous victories which reached over all Europe, while Cromwell abode mainly in our little England, are but as the high stilts on which the man is seen standing; the stature of the man is not altered thereby. I find in him no such sincerity as in Cromwell; only a far inferior sort.

"False as a bulletin," became a proverb in Napoleon's time. Yet he had a sincerity, a certain instinctive, ineradicable feeling for reality; and did base himself upon fact, so long as he had any basis. He had an instinct of Nature better than his culture was. His companions, we are told, were one evening busily occupied arguing that there could be no God; they had proved it by all manner of logic. Napoleon, looking up into the stars, answers, "Very ingenious, Messieurs; but who made all that?" The atheistic logic runs off from him like water; the great fact stares him in the face. So, too, in practice; he, as every man that can be great, sees, through all entanglements, the practical heart of the matter, and drives straight towards that.

Accordingly, there was a faith in him, genuine so far as it went. That this new, enormous democracy is an insuppressible fact, which the whole world cannot put down—this was a true insight of his, and took his conscience and enthusiasm along with it. And did he not interpret the dim purport of it well? La carrière ouverte aux talents—"the implements to him who can handle them"—this actually is the truth, and even the whole truth; it includes whatever the French Revolution or any revolution could mean. It is a great, true message from our last great man.

Sartor Resartus

"Sartor Resartus," first published in "Frazer's Magazine" in 1833–34, is Thomas Carlyle's most popular work, and is largely autobiographical.

I.—The Philosophy of Clothes

Considering our present advanced state of culture, and how the torch of science has now been brandished and borne about, with more or less effect, for five thousand years and upwards, it is surprising that hitherto little or nothing of a fundamental character, whether in the way of philosophy or history, has been written on the subject of clothes. Every other tissue has been dissected, but the vestural tissue of woollen or other cloth, which man's soul wears as its outmost wrappage, has been quite overlooked. All speculation has tacitly figured man as a clothed animal, whereas he is by nature a naked animal, and only in certain circumstances, by purpose and device, masks himself in clothes.

But here, as in so many other cases, learned, indefatigable, deep-thinking Germany comes to our aid. The editor of these sheets has lately received a new book from Professor Teufelsdröckh, of Weissnichtwo, treating expressly of "Clothes, their Origin and Influence" (1831). This extensive volume, a very sea of thought, discloses to us not only a new branch of philosophy, but also the strange personal character of Professor Teufelsdröckh, which is scarcely less interesting. We were just considering how the extraordinary doctrines of this book might best be imparted to our own English nation, when we received a letter from Herr Hofrath Heuschrecke, our professor's chief associate, offering us the requisite documents for a biography of Teufelsdröckh. This was the origin of our "Sartor Resartus," now presented in the vehicle of "Frazer's Magazine."

Professor Teufelsdröckh, when we knew him at Weissnichtwo, lived a still and self-contained life, devoted to the higher philosophies and to a certain speculative radicalism. The last words that he spoke in our hearing were to propose a toast in the coffee-house—"The cause of the poor, in heaven's name and the devil's." But we looked for nothing moral from him, still less anything didactico-religious.

Brave Teufelsdröckh, who could tell what lurked in thee? In thine eyes, deep under thy shaggy brows, and looking out so still and dreamy, have we not noticed gleams of an ethereal or else a diabolic fire? Our friend's title was that of Professor of Things in General, but he never delivered any course. We used to sit with him in his attic, overlooking the town; he would contemplate that wasp-nest or bee-hive spread out below him, and utter the strangest thoughts. "That living flood, pouring through these streets, is coming from eternity, going onward to eternity. These are apparitions. What else?" Thus he lived and meditated with Heuschrecke as Boswell for his Johnson.

"As Montesquieu wrote a 'Spirit of Laws,'" observes our professor, "so could I write a 'Spirit of Clothes,' for neither in tailoring nor in legislating does man proceed by mere accident, but the hand is ever guided by the mysterious operations of the mind." And so he deals with Paradise and fig-leaves, and proceeds to view the costumes of all mankind, in all countries, in all times.

The first purpose of clothes, he imagines, was not warmth or decency, but ornament. "Yet what have they not become? Increased security and pleasurable heat soon followed; divine shame or modesty, as yet a stranger to the anthropophagous bosom, arose there mysteriously under clothes, a mystic shrine for the holy in man. Clothes gave us individuality, distinctions, social polity; clothes have made men of us; they are threatening to make clothes-screens of us."

Teufelsdröckh dwells chiefly on the seams, tatters, and unsightly wrong-side of clothes, but he has also a superlative transcendentalism. To him, man is a soul, a spirit, and divine apparition, whose flesh and senses are but a garment. He deals much in the feeling of wonder, insisting that wonder is the only reasonable temper for the denizen of our planet. "Wonder," he says, "is the basis of worship," and that progress of science, which is to destroy wonder and substitute mensuration and numeration, finds small favour with him. "Clothes, despicable as we think them, are unspeakably significant."

II.—Biography of Teufelsdröckh

So far as we can gather from the disordered papers which have been placed in our hands, the genesis of Diogenes Teufelsdröckh is obscure. We see nothing but an exodus out of invisibility into visibility. In the village of Entepfuhl we find a childless couple, verging on old age. Andreas Futteral, who has been a grenadier sergeant under Frederick the Great, is now cultivating a little orchard. To him and Gretchen his wife there entered one evening a stranger of reverend aspect, who deposited a silk-covered basket, saying, "Good people, here is an invaluable loan; take all heed thereof; with high recompense, or else with heavy penalty, will it one day be required back." Therein they found, as soon as he had departed, a little infant in the softest sleep. Our philosopher tells us that this story, told him in his twelfth year, produced a quite indelible impression. Who was his unknown father, whom he was never able to meet?

We receive glimpses of his childhood, schooldays, and university life, and then meet with him in that difficulty, common to young men, of "getting under way." "Not what I have," he says, "but what I do, is my kingdom; and we should grope throughout our lives from one expectation and disappointment to another were we not saved by one thing—our hunger." He had thrown up his legal profession, and found himself without landmark of outward guidance; whereby his previous want of decided belief, or inward guidance, is frightfully aggravated. So he sets out over an unknown sea; but a certain Calypso Island at the very outset falsifies his whole reckoning.

"Nowhere," he says, "does Heaven so immediately reveal itself to the young man as in the young maiden. The feeling of our young forlorn towards the queens of this earth was, and indeed is, altogether unspeakable. A visible divinity dwelt in them; to our young friend all women were holy, were heavenly. And if, on a soul so circumstanced, some actual air-maiden should cast kind eyes, saying thereby, 'Thou too mayest love and be loved,' and so kindle him—good Heaven, what an all-consuming fire were probably kindled!"

Such a fire of romance did actually burst forth in Herr Diogenes. We know not who "Blumine" was, nor how they met. She was young, hazel-eyed, beautiful, high-born, and of high spirit, but unhappily dependent and insolvent, living perhaps on the bounty of moneyed relatives. "To our friend the hours seemed moments; holy was he and happy; the words from those sweetest lips came over him like dew on thirsty grass. At parting, the Blumine's hand was in his; in the balmy twilight, with the kind stars above them, he spoke something of meeting again, which was not contradicted; he pressed gently those soft, small fingers, and it seemed as if they were not hastily, not angrily withdrawn."

Poor Teufelsdröckh, it is clear to demonstration thou art smit! Flame-clad, thou art scaling the upper Heaven, and verging towards insanity, for prize of a high-souled brunette, as if the earth held but one and not several of these! "One morning, he found his morning-star all dimmed and dusky-red; doomsday had dawned; they were to meet no more!" Their lips were joined for the first time and the last, and Teufelsdröckh was made immortal by a kiss. And then—"thick curtains of night rushed over his soul, and he fell, through the ruins as of a shivered universe, towards the abyss."

He quietly lifts his pilgrim-staff, and begins a perambulation and circumambulation of the terraqueous globe. We find him in Paris, in Vienna, in Tartary, in the Sahara, flying with hunger always parallel to him, and a whole infernal chase in his rear. He traverses mountains and valleys with aimless speed, writing with footprints his sorrows, that his spirit may free herself, and he become a man. Vain truly is the hope of your swiftest runner to escape from his own shadow! We behold him, through these dim years, in a state of crisis, of transition; his aimless pilgrimings are but a mad fermentation, wherefrom, the fiercer it is, the clearer product will one day evolve itself.

Man has no other possession but hope; this world of his is emphatically the "Place of Hope"; yet our professor, for the present, is quite shut out from hope. As he wanders wearisomely through this world he has now lost all tidings of another and higher. "Doubt," says he, "had darkened into unbelief." It is all a grim desert, this once fair world of his; and no pillar of cloud by day, and no pillar of fire by night, any longer guides the pilgrim. "Invisible yet impenetrable walls, as of enchantment, divided me from all living; was there, in the wide world, any true bosom I could press trustfully to mine? O Heaven, no, there was none! To me the universe was all void of life, of purpose, of volition, even of hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable steam-engine, rolling on, in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O, the vast, gloomy, solitary Golgotha, and mill of death!

"Full of such humour, and perhaps the miserablest man in the whole French capital or suburbs, was I, one sultry dog-day, after much perambulation, toiling along the dirty little Rue Saint Thomas de l'Enfer, among civic rubbish enough, in a close atmosphere, and over pavements hot as Nebuchadnezzar's furnace; whereby doubtless my spirits were a little cheered; when, all at once, there rose a thought in me, and I asked myself, 'What art thou afraid of? Wherefore, like a coward, dost thou forever pip and whimper, and go cowering and trembling? Despicable biped! what is the sum-total of the worst that lies before thee? Death? Well, death; and say the pangs of Tophet too, and all that the devil and man may, will, or can do against thee! Hast thou not a heart; canst thou not suffer whatever it be; and, as a child of freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under thy feet, while it consumes thee? Let it come, then; I will meet it and defy it!' And, as I so thought, there rushed like a stream of fire over my whole soul; and I shook base fear away from me for ever. Ever from that time, the temper of my misery was changed; not fear or whining sorrow was it, but indignation and grim fire-eyed defiance.

"Thus had the Everlasting No pealed authoritatively through all the recesses of my being, of my Me; and then was it that my whole Me stood up, in native God-created majesty, and with emphasis recorded its protest. The Everlasting No had said, 'Behold, thou art fatherless, outcast, and the universe is mine, the devil's'; to which my whole Me now made answer, 'I am not thine, but free, and for ever hate thee!'

"It is from this hour that I incline to date my spiritual new-birth, or Baphometic Fire-baptism; perhaps I directly thereupon began to be a man."

Our wanderer's unrest was for a time but increased. "Indignation and defiance are not the most peaceable inmates," yet it was no longer a quite hopeless unrest. He looked away from his own sorrows, over the many-coloured world, and few periods of his life were richer in spiritual culture than this. He had reached the Centre of Indifference wherein he had accepted his own nothingness. "I renounced utterly, I would hope no more and fear no more. To die or to live was to me alike insignificant. Here, then, as I lay in that Centre of Indifference, cast by benignant upper influence into a healing sleep, the heavy dreams rolled gradually away, and I awoke to a new heaven and a new earth. I saw that man can do without happiness and instead thereof find blessedness. Love not pleasure; love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him. In this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable Actual, wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is thy Ideal; work it out therefrom; and working, believe, live, be free! Produce! produce! Work while it is called to-day."

III.—The Volume on Clothes

In so capricious a work as this of the professor's, our course cannot be straightforward, but only leap by leap, noting significant indications here and there. Thus, "perhaps the most remarkable incident in modern history," he says, "is George Fox's making to himself a suit of leather, when, desiring meditation and devout prayer to God, he took to the woods, chose the hollow of a tree for his lodging and wild berries for his food, and for clothes stitched himself one perennial suit of leather. Then was there in broad Europe one free man, and Fox was he!"

Under the title "Church-Clothes," by which Teufelsdröckh signifies the forms, the vestures, under which men have at various periods embodied and represented for themselves the religious principle, he says, "These are unspeakably the most important of all the vestures and garnitures of human existence. Church-clothes are first spun and woven by society; outward religion originates by society; society becomes possible by religion."

Of "symbols," as means of concealment and yet of revelation, thus uniting in themselves the efficacies at once of speech and of silence, our professor writes, "In the symbol proper there is ever, more or less distinctly and directly, some embodiment and revelation of the Infinite; the Infinite is made to blend itself with the finite; to stand visible, and, as it were, attainable there. Of this sort are all true works of art; in them, if thou know a work of art from a daub of artifice, wilt thou discern eternity looking through time; the God-like rendered visible. But nobler than all in this kind are the lives of heroic God-inspired men, for what other work of art is so divine?" And again, "Of this be certain, wouldst thou plant for eternity, then plant into the deep infinite faculties of man, his fantasy and heart; wouldst thou plant for year and day, then plant into his shallow superficial faculties, his self-love and arithmetical understanding."

As for Helotage, or that lot of the poor wherein no ray of heavenly nor even of earthly knowledge visits him, Teufelsdröckh says, "That there should one man die ignorant who had capacity for knowledge, this I call a tragedy, were it to happen more than twenty times in the minute."

In another place, our professor meditates upon the awful procession of mankind. "Like a God-created, fire-breathing spirit-host, we emerge from the inane; haste stormfully across the astonished earth; then plunge again into the inane. But whence?—O Heaven, whither? Sense knows not; Faith knows not; only that it is through mystery to mystery, from God and to God.

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep!"