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9. And in the meantime-between his edition of Dryden and his Review articles on Spenser and Froissart, Godwin's Fleetwood, Colonel Thornton's Sporting Tour, and some cookery books l_he writes (1805) the opening chapters of Waverley, and copies the MS. of “True Thomas and the Quene of Elfand” in Lincoln Cathedral.? He is still, however, "young, lightheaded, and happy";* his life at Ashestiel, entirely congenial to him, rhythmic as the sun; and his horses “Captain
Captain” and “Lieutenant," and Lord Moira's sham fights and sieges, have exhilarating influences, hard to withstand. He represses, however, as it seems, the newly rising springs of song, until the disordered state of his brother's affairs “rendered it desirable for him to obtain immediate command of a sum,” etc.† Whereupon he enters into treaty with Constable, and is paid a thousand guineas for the unseen and unfinished MS. This is at the close of 1806. He works prudently and happily on the theme already murmuring in his mind—the lovely epistles to his friends are dated from Ashestiel—as the months glide, and, “Oh, man, I had many a grand gallop among these braes when I was thinking of Marmion.” 4 The Tantallon canto is suggested to him by Mr. Guthrie Wright during their trip to Dumfries, but the full passion does not come on him till he is in quarters again with the cavalry in the autumn of 1807 :
“In the intervals of drilling, Scott used to delight in walking his powerful black steed up and down by himself upon the Portobello sands, within the beating of the surge; and now and then you would see him plunge in his spurs and go off as if at the charge, with the spray dashing about him. As we rode back to Musselburgh he often came and placed himself beside me to repeat
the verses that he had been composing during these pauses of our exercise.”
I wish I knew when the last stanzas of the poem were actually written I (is the MS. extant ? Lockhart is always inconceivably silent about the little things one most wants to know), but probably in the Christmas time at Merton House, where “from the first days of his ballad rhyming down to the close of his life, he usually spent that season with the immediate head of his race.”'S
10. The immediate sales of Marmion, stimulated by the popularity of its
* Introduction to Marmion, 1830. That to the first edition of 1808 is curiously apologetic for a second trespass on public favour. + Lockhart, ii. 114 seg.
By the last stanzas of the poem, I mean mainly the 25th to 32nd of the last canto. The actual close was scamped a little (bills pressing, it appears, again. See his letter to Byron ®), but he was never good at a finish.
& Lockhart, ii. 123.
1 [Lockhart, ii. 52.] : (Lockhart, ii. 73.] 3 |Lockhart, ii. 46, 47.] 4 [So he said in later years to Lockhart (ii. 117).] 6 Lockhart, second edition, 1839, vol. iii. p. 15 (not in the first edition).] 6 Mr. Skene, in Lockhart, ii. 117.] 7 (See also the prose Introduction to Marmion.] 8 (Lockhart, ii. 399.]
predecessor, were of course greater than those of the Lay, but the admiration it excited was less joyous, for three good reasons—the villainy of the hero, the more definitely historical and severe character of the story, and the transference of affectionate description from Melrose to Edinburgh (for all the world cares for Melrose, but only High School boys for the view from Blackford Hill). Also various snappings and scribblings of criticism, partly professional and chaotic (Jeffrey), partly pedantic (Ellis), partly pious and supercilious (Wordsworth)-tried their little forces on him at first, but quieted themselves gradually for shame or in better understanding, and on the whole people felt rightly the fact and enchantment of his advancing power. Wordsworth's letter is monumental of the man—we must not lose a word of it:
“ Thank you for Marmion. I think that your end has been attained. That it is not the end which I should wish you to propose to yourself you will be well aware, from what you know of my notions of composition, both as to matter and
In the circle of my acquaintance, it seems as well liked as the Lay, though I have heard that in the world it is not so. Had the poem been much better than the Lay, it could scarcely have satisfied the public, which has too much of the monster, the moral monster, in its composition. The spring has burst out upon us all at once, and the vale is now in exquisite beauty; a gentle shower has fallen this morning, and I hear the thrush, who has built in my orchard, singing amain. How happy we should be to see you here again! Ever, my dear Scott, your sincere friend, 'W. W.” 2
[For Jeffrey's criticism (in the Edinburgh Review), see Lockhart, ii. pp. 146– 149; and for that of Ellis, ibid., pp. 143-145.]
(Lockhart, ii. pp. 142-143.
STREAMS AND THEIR
TRANSLATION FROM THE “LAWS OF PLATO,”1 vi. 761
[See Letter 33, § 18 (Vol. XXVII. p. 622)]
And after they have thus made the land difficult of access to enemies, they shall make it as easy as can be, in access and traverse, to friends; and to the utmost possible for men, and beasts of burden, and herds and flocks: caring for the paths of each, that they may be tame* to them, and for the waters from Heaven (that they may not do evil to the country, but on the contrary profit it, in flowing from the heights of the hills into their hollow valleys), restraining the outflowings of them, both with trench and rampart, that so the mountain dells, receiving and drinking the waters of Heaven, may give brooks and fountains to the lower places and meadows; and bear to the parchedest grounds fulness of sweet waters. † And these fountain flowings, whether in the passing river, or at their well-head, shall be made beautiful with plantation and fair building.
*“Tame" [ņuepáratal), of a path subdued from ruggedness and dangerousness, into smooth facility and safety like a rude and wild creature made kind.
+ The sweetness insisted on, because in the hot grounds the least stagnant pool becomes poisonous.
1 [This piece of translation was published as Note 6 in the Appendix to Mr. Faunthorpe's Index to “ Fors Clavigera,” pp. 501-502.]
ON THE USE OF MACHINERY:
LETTERS TO A MANCHESTER MANUFACTURER 1
[See Letter 37, § 9 (Vol. XXVIII. p. 21)]
(REGARDING Ruskin's refusal to allow the use of the steam-engine (Letter 37, § 9, p. 21), Mr. Joseph Brooke, a Manchester manufacturer, wrote (January 18, 1874):
“I cannot understand you when you exclude from the forces to be employed upon your projected estate that of artificial power '— Wind and Water,' you say, why not Fire? Why deny for desirable ends the use of a steam-engine, which i admit as in common with wind and water and animal force' frequently been used for undesirable ends?
“ This exclusion of modern mechanism for useful purpose has always been strange to me. Were I to become an inhabitant of your domain I could make many things myself in my household that should not be clumsily' fashioned, but to be compelled to forego the use of the 'tools' which I acquired as a boy in doing so—seems to me a hardship indeed, not to say a waste of time. Is there a moral difference between a lathe worked by a traddle and one which is turned by a steam-engine? Would not your fourteenth-century Florentines have used the steam-engine if they had known it?”
To this inquiry Ruskin replied from "Corpus Christi College, Oxford" (no date):-)
My Dear Sir,- Please read the 5th Fors carefully, May '71, especially pp. 12, 13;2 also the note on labour near the end of last section of the Queen of the Air.3
No Florentine would have endured the sight of any smoke or blackness in his city, or near it, for half-an-hour. No art, nor any high moral culture, is possible in filth of soot.
The difference between a traddle and a steam-engine is that for the one you use your legs, and for the other you don't—and that your legs will drop off in lust or idleness if you don't use them.
· [These letters, not hitherto printed, have been placed at the disposal of the editors by Mr. Brooke.]
[Of the original edition ; now $$ 9, 10 (Vol. XXVII. pp. 86, 87).] : (In the original editions, where the passage was reprinted from Notes on the General Principles of Employment : see now Vol. XVII. pp. 545–546.]
You may use Natural Air, Water, or Fire. And you must not manufacture Air, Water, or Fire but at your peril.
Use the sun, the wind, and the rain. And, under certain limited needs, you may light fire, or use a fan, or distil water. But to live by Fire is diabolical.
[The manufacturer replied as follows:
HOLLIN Hall, BOLLINGTON, NEAR MACCLESFIELD,
January 25th, 1874. DEAR MR. RuskIN,—It was kind of you to answer my letter.
I have read again the number of Fors and the passage in the Queen of the Air to which you direct me.
I have felt, and feel again, the force of these, and other, sayings of yoursperhaps more deeply this time, for I have just returned from a day's journey to Doncaster and back via Stockport, Hyde, Penistone, Barnsley, Mexborough, etc., a line of country which involuntarily called up another of your recent sayings, "loathsome to live in ”--throughout the journey, and I thought, in response to your letter, that truly such living was
" diabolical.' But I wish I knew more clearly where we must draw the line-what are your “certain limited needs” under which we may “light fires”—where the human necessity ends and the devilish life begins.
Were such men as Watt, Boulton, Stephenson, Arkwright, Jacquard, William Lee benefactors or malefactors to their race?
I have inherited the sole charge of a large cotton-spinning business, and were I to extinguish my fire (which of course partakes of the diabolical) I must ruin myself and some thousand or so others.
I could cavil at your letter-could tell you, for example, that I cannot see why a man is better protected from lust begotten of loss of his legs because his lathe is moved by a legitimate “fall of water” which would leave them “idle” equally with the steam-engine you prohibit.
But I will not; I feel that you see clearly a living truth which we who are perforce in the "peril of fire” can but grope after.
Yearningly some of us do this, and as you write books which seem to indicate that truth (faintly perceived though it be), you cannot wonder that I should crave a clearer vision. My question is, what is to be done?- done by us?
Faithfully yours, Joan Ruskin, Esq.
To this letter Ruskin rejoined :-)
Corpus Christi COLLEGE, OXFORD,
28th Jan. '74. Dear MR. BROOKE,-Your letter is deeply interesting to me.
It is the first I have received from any man in business, showing earnestness of thought.
There is no need for any of us to be ruined. All useful change must be slow and by progressive and visibly secure stages. The evils of centuries cannot be defied and conquered in a day.
But I am only enigmatical and obscure because I know this, and do not want people to think me expectant of everything in an hour,