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marmot in his den," he cries out in stern lamentation over the contrast to their "purer praise" afforded by that found upon the lips of men.
Alas for man! who bath no sense
But still rejects and raves;
And pleasure over graves.
He checks himself, however, with a reflection which affects me with a sense of amazed pain, for again and again has the same occurred to me while reading his fiery invectives, hurled, in these last years, against men who, faultily it might be, yet with sincere intention to speak truth and do good, have written what displeased him on social questions.
Yet let me not, like him who trod
Forget the thousands left;
The glory of the cleft.
Already he had looked with bitter sorrow into the mystery of evil, and found " worse treachery on the steadfast land than variable sea."
The treachery of the deadly mart
Where human souls are sold;
That crumbles as we hold.
In short, we have in these poems, as in a mirror, the faintly shadowed outline of all that Ruskin was to be. Their qualities are stateliness and chastened magnificence of language, burning purity of feeling, and elevation of thought. The most comprehensively characteristic, perhaps, of all the pieces, is one written when he was twenty-three. No man is perfectly true to his own ideal; but when we look along the records of Ruskin's life, we can affirm that it has, on the whole, been pervaded with the spirit, the sentiment, the principles, of these noble verses:
The valley laughs their light to sec;
And heaven with Charitic.
Oh, dew of heaven! Oh, light of earth!
Fain would our hearts be filled with thee,
About the home of Charitic.
God guides the stars their wandering way,
He seems to cast their courses free;
And all their chains are Charitic.
When first he stretched the signed zone,
Then wisdom sat beside His throne,
And still through every age and hour,
Are breathed the presence and the power
By noon and night, by sun and shower,
On grove and field, on fold and flower,
The violets light the lonely hill,
The fruitful furrows load the lea;
For lack of lowly Charitie.
He walks a weary vale within,
No lamp of love in heart hath he;
For lack of gentle Charitic.
Daughter of heaven! we dare not lift
The dimness of our eyes to thee:
Oh! spotless, perfect Charitie.
Yet forasmuch Thy brow is crossed
With blood-drops from the deathful tree,
Wc take Thee for our only trust,
Ah! Hope, Endurance, Faith—ye fail like death,
For she is Hope, and Fortitude, and Faith,
For reasons into which it is needless to inquire, Ruskin decided that he would not come before the world as a poet . His fame, however, has been too much for him; Mr. Shepherd's Bibliography of Ruskin states where each of his poems is to be obtained; and whoever chooses to ransack the British Museum can have a sight of them. The volume in which most of them arc collected is to be had, though seldom, in the book market. These facts make it absolutely certain that, if he does not appropriate them to himself by publication during his lifetime, some bookseller will publish them when he is dead. Surely it were best that he should publish them himself, stating how they fit into the story of his life, and* what part they played in the development of his genius and the formation of his character. Information of this kind he has frequently given, and I, for one, have always prized and enjoyed the dainty morsels. The poems would give pleasure to many, and hurt or offend none, and could not possibly impair the reputation of Mr. Ruskin. They do not satisfy him; but if the satisfaction of authors, not the innocent pleasure of readers, is to be the rule of | publication, vanity will publish everything, and pride will pub. lish nothing.
HIS CHAMPIONSHIP OF TTRNER.
nplIE work on Modern Painters, dedicated to the Landscape Artists of England, on which Ruskin's fame as an author i was first reared, and on which it still principally rests, originated, as he tells us in the preface to the first edition, " in indignation at the shallow and false criticisms of the periodicals of the day" on the works of J. M. W. Turner. I am desirous, in these after-dinner talks about " my very noble and approved good masters," to avoid questions which might lead into the waters of controversial discussion; but it will be impossible to comprehend the literary career of Mr. Ruskin, unless we attain some clearness of idea respecting the necessity for that vindication of Turner which called him into the field.
He has maintained in all his books that Turner was treated with gross injustice by his contemporaries. It is not true, however, that he has never given any other reason for writing on art than the compulsion under which he felt to defend Turner. In the preface to which I have just referred, he particularly fences himself against being supposed to be actuated merely by a desire to vindicate Turner's reputation. "No zeal," he says, "for the reputation of any individual, no personal feeling of any kind, has the slightest weight or influence with mo. The reputation of the great artist to whose works I have chiefly referred, is established on too legitimate grounds among all whose admiration is honorable, to be in any way affected by the ignorant sarcasms of pretension and affectation." He wrote, he adds, to correct the taste of the public,
misdirected by the same crities who attacked Turner. These taught their readers to look with contempt upon "the most exalted truth, and the highest ideal of landscape, that this or any other age has ever witnessed." The two motives—to vindicate Turner and to purify the public taste—were blended in Ruskin's original impulse to write, and have been blended in all he has published on landscape art. He has sometimes, however, forgotten the fact. In the fifth volume of Modern Painters he says expressly that his books arose "not in any desire to explain the principles of art, but in the endeavor to defend an individual painter from injustice." This is, of course, irreconcilable with the denial, in his earliest preface, that " zeal for the reputation of any individual," or "personal feeling of any kind," had "the slightest weight or influence" with him; but the slip of memory is of no great importance.
Whatever were Ruskin's motives in writing or publishing, he has always, I repeat, declared Turner to have been treated with cruel injustice by his contemporaries. He told an Edinburgh audience in 1853 that, until seventy 3'cars old, the great . artist never met with "a single word or ray of sympathy;" that "from the time he knew his true greatness all the world was turned against him;" that "no one understood him, no one trusted him, and every one cried out against him;" that every voice he heard from the human beings around him was raised, year after year, through all his life, only in condemnation of his efforts and denial of his success.
Such statements are at first sight positively bewildering. To any one who has the slightest acquaintance with the history of art in England during the life of Turner, certain facts occur which, interpret them as we may, arc indisputable, and which appear to be in absolute contradiction to Mr. Ruskin's words. Turner was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy at the extraordinarily early age of twenty-four, a Royal Academician at twenty-seven; he exhibited about two hundred