« ZurückWeiter »
soner, as a foundation for his fiction, | Drood," considered by Longfellow as one where his name appears as Mr. Julius of the novelist's most beautiful works, Slinkton of the Middle Temple. The ac- there are given but very slight indications tual facts incidental to the career of T. G. of the prototypes of the characters. The Wainewright are even more extraordinary picture of the opium-eater and her den than those related in the narrative, and it was drawn from nature, the former being is worthy of remark that Lord Lytton, in thus described by Mr. Fields, who accomhis powerful novel, Lucretia,” also panied the novelist to the spot: availed himself of the record of the vil. found a braggart old woman blowing at a lany of the same notorious criminal. kind of pipe made of an old ink bottle;
After the completion of the first three and the words which Dickens puts into numbers of “Our Mutual Friend,” the the mouth of this wretched creature in illustrator of that work, Mr. Marcus Stone, · Edwin Drood,' we heard her croon as we told Dickens of an extraordinary trade he leaned over the tattered bed in which she had discovered, through one of his paint. was lying." ing requirements. It was the establish A visitor on being shown over Rochesment of Mr. Venus, preserver of animals ter Cathedral a few years ago, by chance and birds, and articulator of human bones; asked the gossipping old verger' whether the same establishment as that so minutely Dickens had not got him for one of the described by Mr. Venus himself. “My characters in his last novel. Said he, working bench. My young man's bench. " The question is whether I am not Tope." A Wice. Tools. Bones, warious. Skulls, It is suggested that some of the better warious. Preserved Indian baby. Afri- qualities and peculiarities of Durdles may can ditto. Bottled preparations, warious. be recognized in Mr. John Brooker, of Everything within reach of your hand, in Higham. The origin of some of the good preservation. The mouldy ones names may be traced to Rochester and a-top. What's in those hampers over neighborhood, for that of Jasper is a comthere again, I don't quite remember. Say, mon one in the old city, and Drood is an human warious. Cațs. Articulated En. adaptation of Trood, the cognomen of the glish baby: Dogs. Ducks. Glass eyes, late landlord of the Sir John Falstaff at warious. Mummied bird. Dried cuticle, Gad's Hill. warious. dear me! That's the gen NOTE. - Since this article was written, an eral panoramic view." Mr. Percy Fitz-item of Dickensian interest was elicited by an gerald has identified the shop as No. amusing digression in an action for damages 42 St. Andrew Street, near The Dials, recently heard in the High Court of Justice which he describes as a shop whose before Baron Huddleston. This was nothing window is filled with as disagreeable a less than the identification of the origin of the category of objects as was found in the es. name of Pickwick. Mr. Henry Fielding Dicktablishment of the apothecary in “Romeo ens, a son of the novelist, was retained as and Juliet” — skulls, jaw and thigh bones, the trial he intimated that he meant to call as
counsel for the defence, and in the course of skeletons of monkeys, stuffed birds, horns a witness a Mr. Pickwick. of all kinds, prepared skins, and every Baron Huddleston: “ Pickwick is a very thing unpleasant in the anatomical line. appropriate witness to be called by Dickens The proprietor of this miscellaneous stock (laughter). Mr. Dickens: “I fully believe in trade was, of course the prototype of that the sole reason why I was instructed in Mr. Venus. “This original character," this case was that I might call Mr. Pickwick” writes Mr. Fitzgerald, “ excited much at. (laughter). “And it may interest your lord. tention; and a friend of the great writer, ship to learn that the witness is a descendant as well as of the present chronicler, pass. Pickwick, who kept a coach at Bath, and that
-the grandnephew, I believe — of Mr. Moses ing through this street was irresistibly I have every reason to believe that it was from attracted by this shop and its contents this Moses Pickwick that the name of the imkept by one J. Willis. When he next saw mortal Pickwick was taken. I dare say your Mr. Dickens, he said, 'I am convinced 1 lordship will remember that that very eccenhave found the original of “Venus ;”'on tric and faithful follower of Mr. Pickwick which said Mr. Dickens, . You are right!'" Sam Weller — seeing the name outside the Any one who then visited the place could coach, was indignant, because he thought it recognize the dingy, gloomy interior, the was a personal reflection upon his employer, articulated skeleton in the corner, the and he was accordingly anxious to inflict congenial air of thick grime and dust; but dign punishment upon the offender." now the place is changed, — Mr. Venus digression, and admitted that the temptation
Mr. Dickens, having apologized for the has departed, and his successor deals in was too strong for him, resurned the conduct second-hand clothing for ladies.
of the case. In the unfinished story of “Edwin
F. G. KITToN.
From Blackwood's Magazine. hymns grow so fast on every side, that it is HYMNS AND HYMNALS.
hardly possible to form any correct estiThe question, What is a hymn? may mate of their number, especially since it be fairly set down as one of those sub- has become the fashion amongst many ordinate and collateral queries growing congregations outside the Established out of the larger and more central one, Churches (who generally keep to one) to What is poetry ? - a question that has have compilations of their own. In such obtained such a diversity of answers from a state of things, one naturally calls to the philosophical critić possessed of a mind St. Paul's rebuke to the Church of misdirected craze for analysis. Both the Corinth: “How is it, then, brethren? central and the secondary question belong when ye come together, every one of to that category of inquiries which, from hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,” etc. But the nature of the case, do not admit of this superfluity of hymns — if not in docexact definition. All of us who are ac-trine - happily corrects itself. It is apt quainted with the masterpieces of Wesley, to “die of its own too much.” The tree Montgomery, Keble, Milman, Faber, New. bears more fruit than it can ripen, and the man, and many others, know a good hymn weaklings wither off. Taking no account when we see it; but a specimen is one of the vast quantity of religious verse thing, a definition quite another. In our which every year issues from the press attempt to explain and lay bare the hidden merely to die and make no sign, there are manna of power which has enabled the about twenty-five hundred hymns extant best of these compositions to find their from which the compiler can choose, and way into the mind and heart of the En yet not more than ten per cent. of these glish-speaking world, and hold their places are common to our best collections, so there against all comers, we lose our iabor. difficult is it for a hymn to reach that In appraising the value of any poetical point of excellence which enables it to product of the highest order, whether it be take a permanent place in both the relia hymn or a lyric - and at their best theregion and literature of the country, and at is more than a likeness between the two which it becomes impossible for any com- it is impossible to resolve them into piler, with credit to himself, to exclude it. their component parts, and disengage that If we take the number of hymns in a col. invisible attribute, that“ participation of lection to average about five hundred divineness” in them, which gives them (they usually run from four to six huntheir unnamable charın, and, in short, dred), and deduct the ten per cent. — the makes them what they are.
two hundred and fifty we have spoken of When St. Augustine defined a hymn as as finding a place in every good hymnal a “song of praise to God,” he was speak. we are still left with two hundred and ing to an age and to an audience whose fifty which are more or less infrequently hyinnology, both in character and extent, used, and which are still undergoing that was widely different from ours. Like probationary existence in which their final everything else, the subject has widened merit is not yet set at rest. The gradual with the process of the suns, and to re selection of the fittest in English hym. strict our hymns to subjects having refer-nology has been the quiet work of generaence only to direct adoration of the Al- tion upon generation. Our best hymns mighty, it would be necessary to dismiss have come to us through a slow but sure from our best collections more than half ordeal. Time has put them into his unof their contents. Such a rule, strictly failing crucible, and though the net pro. enforced, would indeed exclude from our portion of pure metal seems small beside service, for example, that universally the mass under assay, yet these two hunknown and approved version of the Hun- dred and fifty hymns - or thereabout dredth Psalm paraphrased by Kethe, al- which have passed through the experi. though commonly attributed to Hopkins. ment, constituie perhaps a more glorious For, admirably appropriate as it is for anthology of sacred song than has ever public worship, the psalm is not addressed been brought together in any language. directly to Heaven, but rather an exhorta- That this refining process must be contintion to earth and its people to praise and uous and unceasing, in order to meet the magnify the Lord. St. Augustine's defi. growing aspirations of the future, nothing nition, then, if at any time it ever did proves more conclusively than the past decide the difficulty, can no longer cover history of the subject. Life, spiritual as the immense area over which the modern well as physical, is a finely adjusted bal. hymn has dispersed, diffused, and, in some ance between replenishment and waste. cases, dissipated itself. Compilations of Stagnant water does not breed impurity
LIVING AGE. VOL. LXII. 3204
more quickly than stagnant emotion in extent, it has ever escaped the influence such a case, and the real vitality of the of “the tune o' the time.” Our more Church is probably more indebted to the important religious revivals have all of receptivity and mobility of its hymnology them left their mark, whether the move
the free and unfettered reciprocity of its ment came from priest or people, from exports and imports — than to all its arti. High Church or Low Church, or whether cles of faith ; articles of subscription hav- the representative of the prevailing influing a readier tendency to degenerate, by ence were John Wesley or John Keble. their very taken-for-granted fixity, into the The extent to which our devotions have mere husk and letter of religion, while our sometimes been controlled by the fashion books of praise, by the observance of this of this world is a subject perhaps more give-and-take law of life, retain their fresh- profitable than pleasant to our self-esteem. ness and attractiveness. Fixity, however, it is a fact beyond dispute, nevertheless, has its proper place, and mobility is not that the Church has always been a very without its risks, and nothing has demon faithful mirror of the passing moment strated more completely the danger of an abstract and brief chronicle of the time, over-emphasizing the sentimental side of as Shakespeare might have put it; for in religion than the humiliating and some fact it has been almost as instrumental as times profane depths to which the praise the stage itself in showing the age and of God has been allowed to fall, under the body of the time his form and pressure, influence of so-called revivals, proving throwing off in endless variety representhat true religion, ever jealous of the false tative types as widely asunder as the sporthood of extremes, no more draws its real ing parson of our fathers' day and the life from a washy and invertebrate emo- Father Ignatius of our own. The Church tion than it does from the doctrinal dry movement in vogue for the time being, bones of the theological anatomist. has sometimes set its seal not only on the
Happily our best collections, containing ritual of its exponents, but has frequently those hymns which stand accredited by affected even such sublunary particulars the approval and consensus of all the as dress and diet. Thackeray, speaking Churches, have escaped this deeper infec- of the Oxford movement, describes the tion, although, without regard to sect or period as that at which the curate cut off party, or particular school of thought, their his coat-collar and let his hair grow, when treasures have been drawn from all quar- he went without dinner on Fridays, and ters, securing in this way a unity and signed his letters on the feast of St. Socatholicity which no other part of public and so, and the vigil of St. What-do-youworship can show. When unity on any call-'em.” But the great Anglican revival theological basis seems as remote as ever, of the first decade of her Majesty's eventit is doubtless no small satisfaction to ful reign, fertile as it was in material for those who have that object really at heart, the satiric pen of Thackeray or pencil of as well as to those who have not yet mas. Leech, had its great and grave side, as tered the Christian grace of mental reser. well as its feeble and fashionable one. vation in their attitude to the standards Stripped of the affectations of its weaker of the Church, to find that at all events supporters, and all the mediæval and ecclethey stand upon common ground in the siastical accretions which disfigured it, it praises sung and accepted by almost every stands out a great and remarkable move. shade of orthodoxy in Christendom, and ment; and it has furnished no better proof without the leading of whose luminous of its subtle and saintly power than the incense cloud religious life to many would harvest it has left at the disposal of the sometimes seem littie better than a desert eclectic gleaner in the field of sacred song. of dogma and disruption. And who shall One would naturally suppose that the say that a unity of trust and aspiration almost universal suffrage by which our may not be quite as acceptable to the God best and most beautiful hymns have been to whom it is directed, as a unity of sub- selected and handed down to us, would scription to a set of abstract problems, have proved a sufficient guarantee against of which at least nineteen out of twenty anything like serious tampering with the professing Christians know absolutely integrity of their text; but such, unfortunothing?
nately, is not the case. The hymn, in Although we have said that our hymnol. cominon with many other things both in ogy has, generally speaking, escaped the the animal and vegetable world, seems to contamination of our grosser revival epi- possess the faculty of producing its own demics, it would not be true to the his- specific parasite; for, strange as it may tory of the subject to say that, to a certain I appear, the most inveteraie enemy of the
hymn, as regards the purity of its original ern politician, especially if he be a patriot, text, is no other than the hymn-compiler. implies an amount of childlike confidence The besetting sin of the collector of hymns which is every day becoming more rare. is old enough almost to have acquired a And lastly, we have that significant politikind of privilege ; and to follow up the cal factor, the publican, engaged in a callliterary history of some of our oldest and ing perhaps more discredited than all. best compositions through their succes- And yet each of these avocations, looked sive versions would occupy a volume. upon askance by what no doubt appears
In comparatively modern times both to them a censorious and hypercritical authors and compilers are implicated. public, is guarded by restrictions from The Wesleys altered George Herbert and which the hymn-collector is absolutely some of the elder hymnologists, as well free. We can insist upon an audit of our as Watts, who, however, had taken an lawyer's charges; and from those gentleequal liberty with the psalter. In their men who are always ready to dispose of a turn the Wesleys themselves fell a prey to perfectly sound animal “ to a friend” at the ubiquitous literary manipulator; for little more than half its value, we can de. we find John Wesley, in a preface to his mand a warranty. The politician again, " Methodist's Hymn-book," bitterly com. besides being, as we all know, a fit and plaining of the collectors of his time, and proper person, is kept in proper restraint begging the gentlemen who had done his by his constituents, or ought to be — albrother Charles and himself the honor of though in this instance it must be admitted reproducing their verses without their that cases do exist where any weak-mindconsent, henceforth to put the true readed departure in the direction of honor or ing in the margin, so that neither he nor uprightness might endanger his seat in his brother should be “any longer ac- Parliament. As for the publican, he is countable for the nonsense or the dog- guarded all round by guarantee upon gerel of other men.” A certain retributive guarantee. He is almost a sacred instiNemesis seems always to have dogged the tution. The Church upholds him on one heels of the successful writer of hymns, side, and the law on the other. He must who has also lent himself to the lower not only be such a man as may be trusted business of collector. The warning has with a license, but must have a certificate been as plain as whisper in the ear, He from his clergyman, and another from a that compileth shall be compiled, but it justice of peace, before he can ply his has passed unheeded. James Montgomery trade. It may be here objected that this complains of the same treatment of his species of ordination and laying on of verses -- the same "cross," as he called it hands to which he has been submitted has -in a preface to his collected hymns, al- not as yet, in any, conspicuous degree, though he too, in his “Christian Psalm- brought down from heaven that amount of ist,” had freely compiled the works of sweetness and light upon his vocation other people. More than twenty years which all right-minded people had a right ago Lord Selborne (then Sir Roundell to expect from the performance. Again, Palmer) vigorously renewed the protest looking at his occupation by the somewhat in the preface to his “ Book of Praise," lurid light thrown upon it by the police but with no appreciable effect. Things reports, it may be gravely questioned have gone from bad to worse, until it has whether even the certificate of the justice been left to our own day to develop in its of peace has had the effect of making his fullest activity the energies of this de- calling either more just or more peaceable. structive literary parasite.
Disreputable as some of these vocations There certain universally dis- may appear, let us fairly compare the colcredited occupations to which that of the lector and trader in hymns with any of hymn-compiler is rapidly conforming, and them, and ask in what respect is he betby which it may be useful to test and ineas- ter ? None of the above-mentioned tradure it, even if the inquiry have no more ers offers in the open market property as important result than a mere exercise in their own which does not belong to them. comparative morality. There is, in the None of them adulterates their merchanfirst place, the old outstanding distrust of dise more shamelessly than he does. A the lawyer; but that, we all know, is only great part of his work is carried on in flaa vulgar superstition. The suspicion grant defiance of the law of the land against the entire uprightness of the dealer the law of copyright. Plagiarism is no in horse-flesh is more difficult to get rid word for him. The ordinary plagiarist is of, and will probably die hard. Again, an a fool beside him. One's attention is absolute belief in the sincerity of the mod- frequently called to the piratical “ inote"
in the eye of our American cousin ; but | hand, and the only qualification, if it in this particular the hymn-compiler's may be called one, is a bottle of dilute home-grown “ beam” leaves him far be- gum-arabic. For any further coherence, hind. He not only appropriates the work continuity, or connection, such volumes of others without the consent, and fre- possess, the credit belongs exclusively to quently without the knowledge, of the the binder. Against such collections rightful owner ; but he adds and alters it, there is nothing to be said. Their speedy deducts and defaces, cuts and carves it removal into time's wallet of oblivion — into conformity with his own theological that universal dust-bin of all the futilities fad, and then, with an effrontery that - disarms criticism. It is not to these almost takes one's breath away, tacks to nor to any variations of text these may the title-page of his stolen and mutilated contain that attention need be drawn, goods, the words, “all rights reserved”! but to the unscrupulous treatment of our
Before proceeding further, however, choicest hymns by educated and responwith so grave a charge, it is necessary to sible editors, in collections not only having point out that all the alterations in our the authority and recommendation of men hymnals are divisible into two distinct of the highest standing in the Church, but classes. To the first class belong all such which, by all but a small minority of prorestorations in English and orthography fessing Christians, are accepted without a as are necessary, in our oldest hymns, word of protest or disapproval. to make them intelligible to the average It is time, however, to illustrate and church-goer; all such changes as are nec. define this general charge by reference to essary to fit certain compositions to the particular examples; and in order to keep requirements of music, and such altera- the examination on the broadest basis, we tions, abridgments, and adaptations of shall call into the witness-box such hymns poems as will render them more suitable only as are to be found in every good colto a service for which many of them were lection, and which, without regard to sect not originally written. A large proportion or party, are universally used, in one shape of these changes, unimportant as regards or another, by all the Churches, and that the integrity of the text, have been made not in this alone, but in every country with the ready consent of the author, and where the English language is spoken. not infrequently by the author himself. Let us take, as our first example, that No one could, in reason, find fault with hymn of Milman's, known and esteemed such alterations as these; and it is not by every one, the solemn and beautiful with these we have to do. Again, if this litany beginning, “When our heads are serious indictment had reference only to bowed with woe," and see what kind of those obscure hymn-collectors whose treatment it has had at the hands of reshort-lived efforts fail to secure anything sponsible editors, both outside and inside like recognition, except in the most lim- the Church. Outside the Church, then, ited sense, the protest would not have there is perhaps no more complete or been worth making. Amongst the crowds more widely known anthology than the who have employed themselves in this “Hymns of Praise and Prayer" collected kind of work there are many who, of and' edited by Dr. Martineau. In speakcourse, possess no aptitude whatever for ing of a hymnal outside the orthodox pale, what they attempt. Such persons and inevitable deductions may of course be their performances are to be reckoned made on theological grounds; these, how. amongst the hostages we pay to civiliza- ever, have no place in our argument. tion — the inevitable character of an age, Suffice it to say, that with these allowances by which an overcrowded and complacent Dr. Martineau's collection is in many mediocrity becomes the ordinary and respects one of the best in the English every-day curse of all the arts. Who is language. But it becomes all the more not well aware — to take an illustration incomprehensible how such an utter travfrom one of the arts most commonly exer- esty of Milman's exquisite poem could cised — that there is probably not more possibly find a place in a collection edited than one musician in a thousand of thos
by any one possessing a tithe either of the so-called performers, who, on one instru- gifts or the culture of Dr. Martineau. ment or another, daily afflict their long Yet there the poem stands, garbled in suffering fellow-creatures ? The collector every stanza; while the whole of the of hymns, in like manner, exercises in concluding verse is no alteration in the many instances no higher faculty than the ordinary sense, but a gratuitous and un. collector of autographs or postage-stamps. warranted substitution, in which the sense In each case the material lies ready to l of the original totally disappears. The