Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE OLD NORTH BRIDGE, CONCORD,

MASSACHUSETTS

THE
STODDARD
LIBRARY

A THOUSAND HOURS OF ENTERTAINMENT
WITH THE WORLD'S GREAT WRITERS

BY JOHN L. STODDARD

Vol. V

ILLUSTRATED

CHICAGO AND BOSTON

GEO. L. SHUMAN & CO.

MCMXIII

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

PN 6013 sn V. 5

GEORGE ELIOT

GEORGE ELIOT (Marian Evans), an eminent English novelist. Born at
South Farm, in Warwickshire, November 22, 1819; died in London, De-
cember 22, 1880. Her principal works were: “Adam Bede," "The Mill
on the Floss," "Silas Marner," "Romola,” “Felix Holt,” “Middlemarch,"
“Daniel Deronda,” “The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton,” “Mr.
Gilfil's Love Story," "Janet's Repentance," "Scenes of Clerical Life,"
“The Legend of Jubal and other Poems.” Also many papers contributed
to the Reviews: "Carlyle's Life of Sterling," "Margaret Fuller," "Women
in France," "Evangelical Teaching, Dr. Cumming," "German Wit,
Heinrich Heine," "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists,” “The Natural History
of German Life," "Worldliness and Otherworldliness, the Poetry of
Young."

In these novels, the development of character is the author's main pur-
pose. For mental breadth and depth, for intellectual insight and im-
aginative power,

for exact observation of contemporary life, and for fullness of knowledge in historical work, no other novelist has surpassed George Eliot.

THE CHOIR INVISIBLE

O MAY I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence: live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scom
For miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge man's search
To vaster issues.

So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world,
Breathing as beauteous order that controls
With growing sway the growing life of man.
So we inherit that sweet purity
For which we struggled, failed, and agonized
With widening retrospect that bred despair.

3

[ocr errors][merged small]

Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued,
A vicious parent shaming still its child;
Popr anxious penitence, is quick dissolved;
Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies,
Die in the large and charitable air.
And all our rarer, better, truer self,
That sobbed religiously in yearning song,
That watched to ease the burden of the world,
Laboriously tracing what must be,
And what may yet be better — saw within
A worthier image for the sanctuary,
And shaped it forth before the multitude
Divinely human, raising worship so
To higher reverence more mixed with love -
That better self shall live till human Time
Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky
Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb
Unread forever.

This is life to come,
Which martyred men have made more glorious
For us who strive to follow. May I reach
That purest heaven, be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony.
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty -
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense.
So shall I join the choir invisible
Whose music is the gladness of the world.

(From "ROMOLA")

WAITING BY THE RIVER

ABOUT the time when the two Compagnacci went on their errand, there was another man who, on the opposite side of the Arno, was also going out into the chill gray twilight. His errand, apparently, could have no relation to theirs; he was: making his way to the brink of the river at a spot which, though within the city walls, was overlooked by no dwellings, and which

« PreviousContinue »