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received too little attention. For it was of the rarest. Whatever his subject, Minto seemed to approach it with a mind absolutely clear of prejudice; to take it up with the single desire of exploring it in his reader's company, and to handle it with a modest self-effacement that may explain the slightly neglectful attitude of a generation eager to be obtruded on by “striking personalities.” In the same way, though he was one of the few men left who could construct a long English sentence, and fit it with well-proportioned members, and make it walk upon legs, his style was so temperate and business-like, so admirable as a means to an end, and so naked of ornamentation, that it too often passed unnoticed. We must be “striking” in these times, or we are naught; but this writer learned to use his theme as a stalking-horse for his own wit. He had an insatiable interest in literature ; but this interest was scientific as well as sympathetic ; and he handled criticism scientifically. On the whole, his method was that of SainteBeuve, and, though there are many more showy, a better has yet to be invented. The others may please for a while ; but in the end we shall sigh for temperance, modesty, restraint, the virtues that are above fashion, and never, never tire ; and where temperance, modesty, and restraint are valued, we may be confident that Minto will not be forgotten. In a series to which all the best critics of his generation contributed, his monograph on Defoe stands out as a bright example of the way in which criticism should be written; and its excellence in comparison with the majority grows clearer as time goes on-a sure test. But whether in his writings or his life, Minto was a man in whose company it was good to be, and to remain.
The following appeared in The Westminster Gazette of March 2:
QUHAT SAY THEY ?
IN MEMORIAM WILLIAM MINTO.
OBIIT MARCH I.
It was his constant care to make his subject, whether literature or the high and dry sands of metaphysics, as far as possible, a mirror of the life we live.
The hand that led our pilgrim bands
These by-gone years
Its kings and seers,
'Tis cold this day.
In misty metaphysic maze
He shed a light,
And darkening night.
Our footsteps keep.
Was it with Chaucer's dukes and dames,
Or saintly Bede ?
Or rigid Reid ?
Its flux and strife.
And still, he brought our restless times
Within his ken-
Would charm his pen.
Was brought to view.
Then oft indeed a budding bard,
As yet unknown,
He'd gladly own;
The tyro cheered.
The ravelled skein of logic-lore
We saw unwound.
The journey bound.
As him we mourn !
Can we, to-day immersed in gloom,
This guide forget,
We seem beset-
Our king at King's.
In the same paper, The Westminster Gazette, of March 11, Minto’s friend, Mr. Richard Le Gallienne, writes as follows:
Nature, that makes Professors all day long,
Ah ! Minto, thou of that minority
I may perhaps be allowed to repeat, at the close of this introductory and biographic sketch, that there is ample and most valuable material for a sequel volume of Minto's work, including his numerous “Encyclopædia Britannica” articles, his papers on John Donne, Wordsworth, and Matthew Arnold, as well as those delightful lectures which he gave to literary and other Societies in Scotland.
WILLIAM KNIGHT. ST. ANDREWS, June, 1894.
THE GEORGIAN ERA
THE POSITION OF MEN OF LETTERS IN THE EIGHTEENTH
DECLINE OF ROYAL PATRONAGE-WHY IS THE GEORGIAN ERA
A DISTINCT LITERARY PERIOD ?-CONDITION OF POETRY DURING THE CENTURY, AND VIEWS OF ITS CRITICS AS TO THE MEANING OF NATURE
THE combined reigns of the four Georges may possibly he thought an arbitrary and artificial section of literary history to choose as a subject for a course of lectures. What had the four Georges to do with literature ? is a question that naturally occurs when they are proposed as the figure-heads of a literary period ; and the answer must be that they had little or nothing to do with literature beyond occasionally furnishing in their illustrious persons fairly good themes for the humorist and the satirist. If you read Thackeray on the four Georges, you will see that these reigns supplied ample materials both for the laughing philosopher and the weeping philosopher. But neither of the first two Georges cared for literature, or did any thing directly to encourage literature, and it was perhaps as well that they let it alone. Matters mended a little under the second two. George IV. had an interview with Dr. Johnson, the record of which is one
of the best known passages in Boswell's “Life.” But this was after Dr. Johnson's fame was fully established. The most conspicuous instance of royal patronage of literature in these reigns-patronage that really helped a rising man-occurred in the first year of this century, when the Prince who afterward became George IV. put down his name among the subscribers to Thomas Moore's translation of Anacreon, and admitted the youthful poet to the honor of personal acquaintance. Moore was overjoyed at this piece of good fortune ; and well he might be, for it greatly helped him in his career of fashionable popularity. In a sense it
be said that literature owes the anacreontic lays of Tom Little to royal favor ; and this is its only obligation to the favor of the four Georges-an obligation that cannot be thought of with altogether unmingled gratitude.
The Georges did little or nothing for literature. But, though it looks like a paradox, this fact, so far from being a reason against choosing their reigns as a liter. ary period, is one of the reasons why the accession of the dynasty constitutes a material point of departure for a historical survey. There is a certain interest in seeing how literature prospered when it was no longer sunned by the royal countenance, and what new influences came in to compensate the loss. Up to the time of the first George every eminent man of letters had received direct encouragement from the Court. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries literature was almost entirely dependent on royal favor, and there was always some member of the royal family who took a warm interest in letters. In the time of Edward III. Chaucer was patronized by John of Gaunt, taken into the royal household, and rewarded with lucrative public appointments. Gower undertook his most celebrated poem at the personal request of Richard II. One of the first cares of Henry IV. when he usurped the Crown was to remember and provide for the wants of