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tried, and failed ; Kingsley just as badly, or worse than others. For any lengthened poetical effort, the impetuosity of his genius seems to have unfitted him; and though, in the face of some very beautiful lines that he has written in versc, and much that he has written in melodious prose, it is impossible to say that his ear was deficient, there does seem to have been a want of some rhythmical faculty in the man who could offer as hexameters such lines as will catch the reader's eye on almost every page of • Andromeda;' lines which set music, accent and even sense, equally at defiance.
We think ‘Andromeda 'the greatest literary mistake which Charles Kingsley made. But some of the little poems that accompany it are very beautiful. • The Sands of Dee belongs, in the first instance, to 'Alton Locke;' and the circumstances of its composition, as there told, may probably enough be, so far, autobiographical. He, Alton Locke, had seen, and been much impressed by, a sketch by Copley Fielding—'a wild 'waste of tidal sands, with here and there a line of stake nets • Auttering in the wind;' he had heard some bystanders telling of the death of the young girl as a true tale; the idea haunted him, and the verses shaped themselves during the silent hours of the night. The Three Fishers,' and Earl Haldan's
Daughter,' pretty Rose Salterne's pretty song out of · West' ward Ho! are also both very well known; but of all these small pieces · The Last Buccaneer' is perhaps the best. It has a fine ballad-like swing that carries one along with it:
"Oh sweet it was in Arès to hear the landward breeze
Of the breakers on the reef outside, that never touched the shore.' This has the true smack of salt water about it, free from all false sentiment.
· And now I'm old and going—I'm sure I can't tell where; One comfort is this world's so hard, I can't be worse off there: If I might but be a sea-dove, I'd fly across the main,
To the pleasant Isle of Arès, to look at it once again.'. Of its kind this is only just not perfection; the use of the word 'main' is a slight Haw: the only main which an old Buccaneer knew was the Spanish Main, his translation of la tierra firma. As to the music, wrote Kingsley to Mr. Hullah,
My idea as I wrote it, was a doleful sentimental bawl, as of a wooden-legged sailor. I hardly think a rollicking tune suits the wornout old man, unless you fancy him a thorough blackguard, which I didn't want. I tried to give a human feeling all through, by a touch
of poetry and sadness in the poor old ruffian. Had I been a composer I should have tried to express this, and yet with a half-comic manner.'
In 1860 the Regius Professorship of Modern History at Cambridge became vacant, and Lord Palmerston offered it to Kingsley; he accepted it, rather out of respect to the opinion of his friends than in accordance with his own wishes; for, as he knew, probably better than anyone else, his historical studies, though extensive and varied, had been diffuse rather than exact. That they had been so was, we believe, a necessary consequence of the man's nature, to which exactness was at all times repulsive. It must for ever remain a mystery how, as a young man, with or without any possible amount of reading, he managed to win a First Class in the Classical Tripos--a certain test of exact scholarship; but assuredly that is the only mark of exactness in his whole career. His genius, admirable in many respects, was, in most, slip-shod; and there would seem a secret or unconscious sense of humour in his naming his Inaugural Lecture · The Limits of Exact Science as applied to History. This was delivered in the Senate House on November 12, and his first course immediately followed it. He was also desired by the Prince Consort to direct the historical studies of the Prince of Wales, then keeping his terms at Cambridge; and the additional work which this engagement entailed on him forced him to remain in residence during the whole of the academical year.
That Kingsley was not fitted either by genius or temper for the stern work of a historian is past all doubt. It is described as having been to himself irksome in the extreme, and the result was certainly not commensurate.
At the same time it can scarcely be said to have called for the severe and even bitter criticism which was lavished on it; for though his historical writings have, in truth, but little merit as histories, the earnestness of feeling, which stamps them with their author's individuality, gives them a certain distinctive value; and as, in the first lecture of his first course—that course which was afterwards published under the title of “The Ro* man and the Teuton?—the Professor roundly stated that it was not history at all; that he did not consider it his duty to teach history, but to teach his hearers how to teach themselves history; to put together the scaffolding, and leave them to build the house; he had at least a claim to be judged in accordance with that conception of his duty, and not by some other imaginary standard. Such as it was, however, the work of the Professorship was too much for the Professor; his health gave way, and he was repeatedly anxious to resign. So far back as 1863 he had suffered from a long illness, induced or aggravated by overwork; and his medical adviser had urged on him entire rest and change of air. Early in 1864 his brother-in-law, Mr. Anthony Froude, had occasion to go to Spain on business connected with his history, and it was resolved that Kingsley should accompany him. The two accordingly started on March 23; but Kingsley was unable to stand the fatigue of the journey, and broke down at Biarritz. After some stay there, he travelled by easy stages to Marseilles, and so back by Lyons : and it is to this tour that we owe the prose idyll • From Ocean to Sea. Some of his letters home are very characteristic. From Bayonne he writes
• All the horses in France are white except one, which I see at rare intervals. They have the most exquisite little yellow oxen here, rather bigger than a donkey. They put brown holland pinafores on their backs, and great sheepskin mats on their heads, where the yoke comes, and persuade them, as a great favour, to do a little work. But they seem so fond of them that the oxen have much the best of the bargain.'
At Biarritz he proposes to stop for a week or so, to botanise and breathe sea-champagne,' and from Pau he writes :
'I have taken quite a new turn, and my nerve and strength have come back from three days in the Pyrenees. What I have seen I cannot tell you. Things unspeakable and full of glory. Mountains whose herbage is box, for miles and thousands of feet, then enormous silver firs and beech, up to the eternal snow. ... We climbed three hundred feet of easy down, and there it was (the Pic du Midi) right in front, nine thousand feet high, with the winter snow at the base—the eternal snow holding on by claws and teeth where it could above. I could have looked for hours. I could not speak. I cannot understand it yet. Right and left were other eternal snow peaks; but very horrible. Great white sheets with black points mingling with the clouds, of a dreariness to haunt one's dreams. I don't like snow mountains.'
But neither the sea-champagne' nor the mountain air brought any permanent improvement to his health ; after his return to Eversley, in writing to Mr. Maurice, he says, ' I am ' come back better, but not well, and unable to take any mental * exertion. And nearly a year later, May 1865, he writes to Mr. Hughes :
'I am getting better after fifteen months of illness, and I hope to be of some use again some day; a sadder and a wiser man, the former at least I grow every year. I catch a trout now and then out of my ponds. I am too weak for a day's fishing, and the doctors have absolutely forbidden me my salmon.' But a quieter holiday he was obliged to take as the year got older, and settled with his family, for three months, on the coast of Norfolk.
This wretched state of his health must not be forgotten, in relation to the unfortunate dispute with Dr. Newman, in which, about this time, he became involved. Of that controversy, it is needless now to speak; whatever may have been the merits of the case on either side, it certainly became a contest in dialectics; and Kingsley, whose genius was careless, inexact, impulsive, anything rather than logical, was, at his best, no match for the cool temper and trained skill of the ablest controversialist of the day; as it was, broken down by long-protracted sickness, he was altogether powerless in his hands.
It was thus also, that during the years between 1860 and 1870, his literary work made so little show. In addition to two small volumes of lectures, to ‘Hereward ' and the Water • Babies, four volumes of sermons were all that he published; and his reputation, which had indeed
on, which had indeed grown, had grown simply by itself and out of his older writings. His lectures at Cambridge were, no doubt, popular, amongst the men of that day; but this must be attributed rather to the charm of his manner, and to the earnest way in which he appealed to the better self of the students, than to any particular merit in the lectures themselves; and had they been more intrinsically valuable than, in point of fact, they were, the class to which they were addressed was still much too small to admit of their affecting his literary fame to any great degree. After many hesitations, he definitely resolved in 1869 to resign the professorship. Writing of this determination to the Master of Trinity, on April 1 of that year, he says:
My brains, as well as my purse, rendered this step necessary. I worked eight or nine months hard for the course of twelve lectures which I gave last term, and was half-witted by the time they were delivered ; and as I have to provide for children growing up, I owe it to them not to waste time (which is money) as well as brain, in doing what others can do better.'
From this time onward, there is much in the literary career of Charles Kingsley that indicates a mind prematurely grown old; and though some of his essays, whether in the Prose • Idylls' or · Health and Education,' are admirable and delightful, his later work, as a whole, seems laboured or fantastic. He comes before us, during these last years of his life, rather as a preacher and an example than as a writer, and sanitary science occupied more and more of his time and thought. In his earlier days he was, not indeed without a latent sneer, called by many the Apostle of Muscular Christianity ; a term which he himself altogether rejected as an im
pertinence, and as either unnecessary or untrue and immoral : untrue and immoral, if it implied an identity between strength and godliness; unnecessary, if it was used merely as an equivalent for the chivalry of the gentle, very perfect knight, loyal to his king and to his God; the ideal of which-developed in the poems of Tasso or Ariosto—culminated in our own Spenser's Fairy Queen: ''perhaps, writes Kingsley, ' the most * admirable poem which has ever been penned by mortal man.' It is, however, very certain that he held greatly to the value of strength; strength of body no less than of mind. It is not, we can fancy bim saying, poor, decrepit, diseased objects that we want as soldiers of God; we want men who can endure the fatigue and labour of the warfare; we will not offer to the Lord that which costs us nothing. And this, which has been in all ages the theory, though unfortunately not the practice, of the Catholic Church, Kingsley continued to hold ; and not the less firmly, because, by an extraordinary perversion of judgment-resulting, if not from downright ignorance or incapacity, then from spite and malice- his works were occasionally classed with those of Ouida,' or the late Mr. Lawrence; as if there was anything in common between a noble and manly ideal such as Amyas Leigh and a brutal monstrosity such as Guy Livingstone!
But in his later writings he was even more emphatically the apostle of cleanliness. His views on this subject had indeed been almost extreme from the very first; and his early sermons on the cholera are as outspoken as anything which he afterwards uttered. The difference is that though he had in earlier years associated sanitary reform with political, and though he was, even in 1848, ready to urge on the workmen of London, then agitating for the Charter, the necessity of social improvements and cleanliness of mind and body, as leading to benefits far beyond those which any Charter or Act of Parliament could give, the world at large had paid more attention to his political teaching, and had been more inclined to consider him as a would-be political reformer. In his later years he dropped the political side of the question altogether; his name was no longer mixed up with political disturbances, and his teaching of the requirements of sanitary science, whether by word of mouth or by pen, assumed greater importance.
The small volume published in 1874, under the title of Health and Education,' is made up of several scattered essays and lectures on this and kindred subjects; including more particularly · The Science of Health,' The Two Breaths,' and
Nausicaa in London ;'essays which, without bringing forward