Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Volume 1

Couverture
James Munroe, 1838 - 454 pages
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Page 296 - Are we a piece of machinery, which, like the /Eolian harp, passive, takes the impression of the passing accident ; or do these workings argue something within us above the trodden clod ? I own myself partial to such proofs of those awful and important realities : a God that made all things, man's immaterial and immortal nature, and a world of weal or wo beyond death and the grave.
Page 317 - There was a strong expression of sense and shrewdness in all his lineaments ; the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and glowed (I say literally glowed) when he spoke with feeling or interest.
Page 314 - ... in the whole strain of his bearing and conversation a most thorough conviction, that in the society of the most eminent men of his nation he was exactly where he was entitled to be; hardly deigned to flatter them by exhibiting even an occasional symptom of being flattered...
Page 317 - Among the men who were the most learned of their time and country, he expressed himself with perfect firmness, but without the least intrusive forwardness ; and when he differed in opinion, he did not hesitate to express it firmly, yet at the same time with modesty.
Page 317 - I never saw a man in company with his superiors in station or information more perfectly free from either the reality or the affectation of embarrassment. I was told, but did not observe it, that his address to females was extremely deferential, and always with a turn either to the pathetic or humorous, which engaged their af'enrion particularly. I have heard the late Duchess of Gordon remark this. — I do not know any thing I can add to these recollections of forty years since.
Page 392 - Nemesis visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation...
Page 284 - Peasant show himself among us ; ' a soul like an ^Eolian harp, in whose strings ' the vulgar wind, as it passed through them, changed itself ' into articulate melody.' And this was he for whom the world found no fitter business than quarrelling with smugglers and vintners, computing...
Page 315 - I may truly say, Virgilium vidi tantum. I was a lad of fifteen in 1786-7, 20 when he came first to Edinburgh, but had sense and feeling enough to be much interested in his poetry, and would have given the world to know him : but I had very little acquaintance with any literary people, and still less with the gentry of the west country, the two sets that he most frequented. Mr.
Page 336 - ... seen and felt, that not only his highest glory, but his first duty, and the true medicine for all his woes, lay here. The second was still less probable ; for his mind was ever among the clearest and firmest. So the milder third gate was opened for him : and he passed, not softly yet speedily, into that still country, where the hail-storms and fire-showers do not reach, and the heaviest-laden wayfarer at length lays down his load...
Page 333 - ... side was gay with successive groups of gentlemen and ladies, all drawn together for the festivities of the night, not one of whom appeared willing to recognise him. The horseman dismounted, and joined Burns, who on his proposing to cross the street said: ' Nay, nay, my young friend, that's all over now; ' and quoted, after a pause, some verses of Lady Grizzel Baillie's pathetic ballad :

À propos de l'auteur (1838)

Thomas Carlyle was a social critic and historian born in Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, December 4, 1795, the same year as John Keats, but Carlyle is considered an early Victorian rather than a Romantic. After completing his elementary studies, he went to the University of Edinburgh but left in 1814 without a degree. His parents wanted him to become a minister in the Scottish church, but his independence of spirit made such a life program impossible. In 1816 he fell in love with, and was rejected by, a young woman. His love affair was followed by a period of doubt and uncertainty described vividly in Sartor Resartus, a work published in 1833 that attracted much attention. Carlyle's first literary work reveals his admiration for German thought and philosophy, and especially for the two great German poets Schiller and Goethe. The fictional autobiography of a philosopher deeply impressed Ralph Waldo Emerson who brought it back to the United States to be published there. History of the French Revolution (1837), rewritten after parts of it were mistakenly burned as kindling by John Stuart Mill, cemented Carlyle's reputation. The work brought him fame but no great wealth. As a result of his comparative poverty he was induced to give four series of public lectures. Of these the most famous were those On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic of History delivered in 1840 and published in 1841. Past and Present (1843), and Latter Day Pamphlets (1850) present his economic and industrial theories. With The Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (1845), The Life of John Sterling (1851), and History of Frederick II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great (1858-1865) he returned to biography. In 1865, Carlyle was made Lord Rector of Edinburgh.

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