Some of the serenest hours of those mourning years were spent in that valley in the grounds of Hallsteads, on Ullswater, which has been the setting of much of my inward life. Outside it lie the wilder beauties of Cumberland; within are a grandeur and solitude which foster without overwhelming the heart. There are tower and spire of cedar and cypress, high walls of flowering laurel, and rhododendrons massed amid the shade. There for many a twilight hour I have paced alone, and shaken from the thick syringas their load of scent and rain. The childhood of Phyllis also had been spent in a scene resembling this; she had been nurtured amid antique simplicity, and in an ancestral moorland home. I have often thought of her in the words in which Brynhild, in William Morris’ poem, tells Sigurd of her upbringing.
Yet I bid thee hover awhile as a lark alow on the corn;
Yet I bid thee look on the land twixt the wood and the silver sea
In the bight of the swirling river, and the house that cherished me!
There dwelleth mine earthly sister and the king whom she hath wed;
There morn by morn aforetime I woke on the golden bed;
There eve by eve I tarried mid the speech and the lays of kings;
There noon by noon I wandered and plucked the blossoming things.
When I think of that valley I understand the hauntings of the earthward-hovering soul. For I haunt it now; even now, when I would think stedfastly of myself, my image comes to me as pacing that glade of silence, between the ramparts of impenetrable, green. I feel a twilight that deepens into darkness, a calm where winds are laid, and in my own heart a grave intentness, as of one who strives to lift into an immortal security the yearning passion of his love.
marriage and friends.
Life and activity on earth should be elevated, but not impeded, by devotion to souls elsewhere. There need be no exclusiveness in the loves of the spirit. It was with a sense, not of incongruity, but at once of duty and of joy, that I turned to a marriage union and the founding of a new home. On March 13th, 1880, I was married by Dean Stanley,—an old friend of my father’s,—in Henry VII.’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, to Eveleen, youngest daughter of the late Charles Tennant, of Cadoxton House, Neath, and Mrs. Tennant, daughter of Admiral Collier, and descended through the Frankland family from Oliver Cromwell. In 1881 we took up our abode in Leckhampton House, built by me on the western edge of Cambridge, and there three children were bom to us;—Leopold Hamilton in 1881, Silvia Constance in 1883, and Harold Hawthorn in 1886. In 1882 the Society for Psychical Research was founded; and my work in that direction became more continuous. I will not now dwell on this tranquil period of domestic happiness and ardent toil. But I cannot close my record without at least mentioning some of the friends to whom both my early and my later years have owed more than I can repay.
At school Robert W. Raper (afterwards of Trinity College, Oxford) became my friend; at a tutor’s, Charles Milnes Gaskell (of Thornes House, Wakefield). At Cambridge, Henry Sidgwick (afterwards Professor of Moral Philosophy, and for me a veritable incarnation of beneficent wisdom), and his brother Arthur Sidgwick; George Otto Trevelyan (afterwards Sir George), Richard Claverhouse Jebb (afterwards Professor of Greek and M.P. for the University), Cyril Flower (afterwards Lord Battersea), James Saumarez (afterwards Lord de Saumarez), George and Frank Darwin, Walter Leaf, and Edmund Gurney, than whom no other friend was more dear. Arthur J. Balfour and J. W. Strutt (afterwards Lord Rayleigh) were junior to myself, and I knew them but slightly at Cambridge, though better when they became interested in psychical inquiry. From Oxford I gained the friendship of John Addington Symonds, Robert Hawthorn Collins (afterwards Sir Robert), and James Bryce. Prince Leopold (afterwards Duke of Albany) was Collins’s pupil in boyhood at Windsor Castle, and so first known to me. Later in life three men
became as dear and intimate as the friends of boyhood:—Professor Oliver Lodge, of Liverpool, Professor William James, of Harvard, and Professor Charles Richet, of Paris and Carqueiranne. These three friends gave me sympathy and help of the highest value. Among elder men I would mention John Ruskin, Lord Tennyson, William Crookes, George Frederick Watts, Hensleigh Wedgwood, Professor John Couch Adams, Alexander Aksákoff, Alfred Russel Wallace, from all of whom I received encouraging kindness. Among other friends made in middle life were Richard Hodgson, Charles Carleton Massey, Hamilton Aïdé, Henry M. Stanley, Henry Babington Smith, Professor Alexander Macalister. My brother Arthur, a physician, gave brotherly help in all my work. Among women friends also I can mention but a few;—Mrs. (Josephine) Butler, ‘‘George Eliot,” Lady Mount-Temple, Mrs. Russell Gurney, my cousin by marriage Florence Marshall, Lady Battersea (née Constance de Rothschild), the Duchess of Albany, Lady Carnarvon (née Howard); and such helpful allies as Lady Mabel Howard (née Macdonnell), Lady Radnor, the Dunhams of New York, the Leycesters of Toft, the Wyndhams of Clouds, the Wingfields of Tickencote, and above all Mrs. Henry Sidgwick,—a sister of Arthur Balfour’s, and an absolutely invaluable adviser and fellow-worker in the matters which I had most at heart. In a poem called “An Epithalamium” I have spoken of her husband and herself.
But where shall a list of friends end? or who shall say how brief a flash of human intercourse may kindle a feeling that shall not wholly fade? Even without a glance exchanged the sense of fellowship may be deep and strong.
I once descended the stairs of Covent Garden opera-house with a party of whom Phyllis was one. We were to part at the door, and she stopped me in an embrasure to ask my counsel on a sad and urgent matter. Looking up, I saw close to us a high-bred beautiful girl, unknown to me, moving calmly downwards among her kin. I saw the girl’s glance fall on Phyllis; I saw a shock of admiration pass across her face, mingled with yearning pity. I saw her manage to stand and wait where she could look at Phyllis still; I saw her grow forgetful of the outward scene in sympathy with that unknown sorrow. The girl never once looked at me, nor Phyllis at her; but when, a minute later, I walked away alone, I felt how swift, how secret, how subtle are the ties betwixt soul and soul; insomuch that that moment’s contact with a spirit who may be travelling through the universe on a path which neither Phyllis nor I shall intersect again, had awakened in me a sense of kinship which it seems as though an endless absence could never utterly destroy.
A few brief poems of this period may conclude this chapter. The
first is a picture of myself, idealised as a gorilla;—a grotesque form in which I can best summarise the profound discordances, the upward struggle, of that inward life of which fragments have been given here.
from brute to man.
Through such fierce hours thy brute forefather won
Thy mounting hope, the adventure of the son;
Such pains astir his glooming heart within
That nameless Creature wandered from his kin;
Smote his broad breast, and, when the woods had rung
To bellowing preludes of that thunderous tongue,
With hopes half-born, with burning tears unshed,
Bowed down his terrible and lonely head;
With arms uncouth, with knees that scarce could kneel,
Upraised his speechless ultimate appeal;—
Ay, and heaven heard, and was with him, and gave
The gift that made him master and not slave;
Even in that stress and horror of his fate
His thronging cry came half articulate,
And some strange light, past knowing, past control,
Rose in his eyes, and shone, and was a soul.
in henry vii.’s chapel, westminster abbey.
O holy heart of England! inmost shrine
Of Mary’s grace divine;
Proud aisles, where all things noble, all things high
Her sweet soul magnify;
Vaults where the bones of mighty kings are laid,
Blest by a Mother-Maid!
One heart, great shrine, thou knewest then, be sure,
As thine own Mistress pure;
Eyes that like hers by supplication bless,
And reign by lowliness.
O Priest, whose voice from that irradiant sun
Proclaimed the twain made one,
Amid the banners of his Order spake
That oath no age shall break!
Voice of a Ruler born to soothe and sway
Man on his wandering way,
Dowered with the courage glad, the wisdom mild,
Which keep the sage a child;
Whose high thoughts immanent have built him fair
A shrine in the upper air
Stainless and still, and ever oftener trod
By messengers of God!
While to that voice amid those memories heard
Answered her underword,
No wonder if the Eternal Presence then
Seemed mute no more to men,
Nor gulf betwixt, nor any darkness shed
On souls miscalled the dead;
Since we and they, far hence or long ago,
One life alone can know;
Since from seas under earth to stars above
There is no joy but love,
Nor in God’s house shall any glory be,
Save God and such as she.
From calm beyond our inmost thought
Came the girl-spirit, childly-wise;
From spaces of the blue she brought
This earnest candour of her eyes;
From heavenly fields her soul uprose,
By fateful impulse urged to roam,—
Looked on the wheeling worlds, and chose
Our love her magnet, Earth her home.
Awhile, awhile these years shall flow,
In these soft limbs her soul be pent,
Till Earth the lore of love and woe
Hath taught, and left her innocent:
Then fairer yet, then yet more dear
We hold our child in surer stay;—
What else was Love that lit us here
But glimmering dawn of deathless day?
in the wolsey chapel, windsor.
Prince well-beloved! true heart and presence fair!
High o’er the marble of thy carved repose
From Windsor’s keep the Flag of England blows;
A thousand years float in the storied air.
There sleeps thy Sire; and often gently there
Comes one who mourns with steadfast eyes, and strows
The rhododendron round thee and the rose;
Love is her silence and her look is prayer.
Nor now that Banner’s broad-flung triumphings,
Nor spirit whispering to the sons of kings
Of strong continuance, age-long empery;—
But that one woman’s gaze the promise brings
To thee that sleepest of eternal things,
Realms yet unreached, and high love still to be.
Her brave sea-bulwarks builded strong
No tides uproot, no storms appal;
By sea-blown tamarisks the throng
Of idlers pace her broad sea-wall;
Rain-plashed the long-lit pavements gleam;
Still press the gay groups to and fro;
Dark midnight deepens; on they stream;
The wheels, the clattering horses go.
But that wave-limit close anear,
Which kissed at morn the children’s play,
With dusk becomes a phantom fear,
Throws in the night a ghostly spray:—
O starless waste! remote despair!
Deep-weltering wildness, pulsing gloom!
As tho’ the whole world’s heart was there,
And all the whole world’s heart a tomb.
Eternal sounds the waves’ refrain;
“Eternal night,”—they moan and say,—
“Eternal peace, eternal pain,
Press close upon your dying day.
Who, who at once beyond the bound,
What world-worn soul will rise and flee,—
Leave the crude lights and clamorous sound,
And trust the darkness and the sea?”
a sister of phyllis.
“Soul, that in some high world hast made
Pre-natal unbewailing choice,
Thro’ Earth’s perplexities of shade
Sternly to suffer and rejoice;—
Breathe in me too thine ardent aim;
Let me too seek thy soaring goal:—
However severed, still the same
My hope with thine, O kindred Soul!
“Yet pause. The roaring North has driven
Beyond our ken his foamy car;
Serener than the height of heaven
This summer sea lies near and far;
And flecked with flying shade and shine
Heaves a dove-green, dove-purple breast,
And shimmers to the soft sky-line
Thro’ faery solitudes of rest.
“No fruit has Ocean’s tumult found;
His wave-battalions blindly ran;—
Hushed after all that storm and sound
Old Ocean ends as he began:—
On thee no random angers fell;
Oh, not for naught thy skies were wild!
Thine Angel marked them, measuring well
The storms that should not slay his child.
“Thine eager youth they could not dim;
They left thee slender, left thee fair;
Left the soft life of voice and limb,
The blue, the gold, of eyes, of hair.
Within a sterner change they wrought,—
Beset thy Will with surging wrong,
Smote on the citadels of Thought,
And found thee ready, left thee strong.
“Thy worst is over. Pause and hark!
Thine inmost Angel whispers clear,
‘We leave the blackness and the dark;
The end is Love, the end is near.’—
Lift then anew the lessening weight;
Fight on, to men and angels dear!
Fare forth, brave soul, from fate to fate;—
Yet ah—one moment linger here!”
I spake; she listened; woman-wise
Her self-surrendering answer came;
The azure of those constant eyes
Shone with a stilled unworldly flame:—
Perchance her soul’s unconscious stream
To broadening deeps profoundly drew,
And dim prevision bade me dream
Her Angel nearer than I knew.
For ere the fourth moon, August-bright,
Had rounded o’er the glimmering plain,
Beyond the clear-obscure of night
Her lovely life was born again:
Calm in the calm her spirit fled,
With faery softness stole afar,
By Love unknown beguiled and led
Past dream and darkness, sea and star.
the final faith.
Closing here for the present this brief story of my inner life, I am bound to face one searching question. My history has been that of a soul struggling into the conviction of its own existence, postponing all else to the one question whether life and love survive the tomb. That conviction has at last been granted to me. How far has it proved an inspiring, a controlling creed? How has it compared with other creeds or absence of creed,—with Hellenism, Agnosticism, Christianity?
As years advance one must needs lose the early confidence in the possibilities of one’s own moral progress. For me at least the walls of my earthly nature seem closing in. Nor can I believe that under any circumstances, with any stimulus, I could have become a being such as those whom I have most admired and loved. But although my character is ill fitted to illustrate the merits of any form of religion, it is well fitted to bring out that religion’s defects. I am not likely to be a better man than my creed gives me logical reason for being.
The Hellenism of my early years was an intellectual stimulus, but in no way a moral control. Entirely congenial to my temperament, it urged me onwards (as I have said) into intellectual freedom and emotional vividness, but exercised no check upon either sensuality or pride. Hellenism is the affirmation of the will to live;—but with no projection of the desired life into any juster or sterner world.
The effect of Agnosticism upon me was wholly evil. During this phase only can I remember anything of deadness and bitterness;—of scorn of human life, of anger at destiny, of cynical preference of the pleasures of the passing hour.
Christianity, while it could last, was enough. Its drawback was the growing sense of unreality, of insufficiency; the need of an inward make-believe. The Christian scheme is not cosmical; and this defect is felt so soon as one learns to look upon the universe with broad impersonal questioning, to gaze onward beyond the problem of one’s own salvation to the mighty structural laws on which the goodness or badness of the Cosmos must in the last resort depend.
Yet I cannot in any deep sense contrast my present creed with Christianity. Rather I regard it as a scientific development of the attitude and teaching of Christ. I look upon Christ as a
Revealer of immortality absolutely unique, as the incomparable Pioneer of all wisdom that shall be learnt concerning unseen things. But, like the Norsemen’s discovery of America, his work grows more and more remote, and there are no sure sea-marks for others to follow along that legendary way. A new discovery is needed,—to be made by no single Columbus, but by the whole set and strain of humanity; by the devotion of a world-wide labour to the deciphering of that open secret which has baffled the too hasty or too self-centred wonder and wish of men. And such an inquiry must be in the first instance a scientific, and only in the second instance a religious one. Religion, in its most permanent sense, is the adjustment of our emotions to the structure of the Universe; and what we now most need is to discover what that cosmic structure is.
I believe, then, that Science is now succeeding in penetrating certain cosmical facts which she has not reached till now. The first, of course, is the fact of man’s survival of death. The second is the registration in the Universe of every past scene and thought. This I hold to be indicated by the observed facts of clairvoyance and retrocognition; and to be in itself probable as a mere extension of telepathy, which, when acting unrestrictedly, may render it impossible for us to appear as other than we are. And upon this the rule of like to like seems to follow; our true affinities must determine our companionships in a spiritual world.
And finally, extending to that world the widest law thus far found applicable to the world we know, I believe in a progressive moral evolution, no longer truncated by physical catastrophes, but moving continuously towards an infinitely distant goal. This short creed, I think, is all that existing evidence warrants; and is enough for the needs of life. It proves to me that it is to my interest to live at my best; it inspires the very strongest hopes which can excite to exertion.
In the net result, it succeeds, under ordinary circumstances, in keeping me fairly clear from all faults except those to which I am particularly prone. On many men, I feel sure, it will exercise a more striking effect. And be it noted that whatever effect this creed does exercise it will exercise inexorably and persistently;—with the inexorable persistence of known and permanent fact. Nay, since there is this reality in the creed, it will be most powerful in those profoundest crises when any inward uncertainty of belief leaves the victory to the passions of men. I have myself thus found that in strenuous need the efficacy of my belief has become not less but greater.
In what I now speak of there was no merit of my own, unless there be merit in the mere admiration of virtue. Nor was there even external choice of my own; since the outward facts necessarily took their colour from the character of her who was concerned in them.
My conflict therefore was not so much as to how I should act, but as to what I could raise myself to desire.
The poem entitled “Honour” comes from the agnostic period of my life, and its tone is one of almost intolerable strain. Then, as it happened, during that period of ardent passion, I received my first assurance of things unseen. The later poems in Chapter V. show the nature of the change induced. The painful effort of self-restraint merges at last in a solemn exultation. For, in fact, so soon as I began to have hope of a future life I began to conceive earth’s culminant passion sub specie æternitatis. I felt that if anything still recognisable in me had preceded earth-life, it was this one profound affinity; if anything were destined to survive, it must be into the maintenance of this one affinity that my central effort must be thrown. I was like a half-drunken man suddenly sobered by the announcement that he has come into a fortune. The first impulse was the mere resolve that nothing here on earth should prejudice that chance of happiness to be. Ogier and the Queen of France, in William Morris’ poem, foreseeing possibilities too great to risk, looked each on the other
But for one moment; for too wise were they
To cast the coming years of joy away.
Still more for me was there a sense that this was but the first moment of an endless passion; a sense of desperate reality, of agelong issues;—nay, as of the very crisis and visible morn of Fate. From that hour the moral victory was won;—achieved with steadfastness, though not yet with more than steadfastness; with no inward felicity in such obedience to the highest law.
But a further step was to come. I knew her to be an immortal creature; I discerned in her as it were the visible sign of her immortality; I felt with Plato that Love is an inlet into the spiritual world; that it is out of proportion to earthly existence; that more than the mere delight of the terrene comradeship must be the hidden motive of that extreme emprize;—that the desire, as Plato has it, “for the eternal possession of the Beautiful” must have its root in some august remembrance of a remote pre-natal day.
Among the pure Ideas which men in some dim fashion discern on earth, “Wisdom,” says Plato, “we cannot see, or terrible had been the love she had inspired.” To me it seemed as though I then saw Virtue clear. An effect was wrought upon me which neither Mrs. Butler’s heroic Christianity nor Henry Sidgwick’s rightness and reasonableness had ever produced. And although in my own heart I still felt the recurrent conflict between the savage and the sage,—between the half-human instinct and the deliberate choice of upright man;—yet in this one matter the impulse
which prompted me to virtue became like the impulse of self-preservation itself. I knew in the deep of the heart that Virtue alone was safe, and only Virtue lasting, and only Virtue blest; and Phyllis became to me as the very promise and earnest of triumphant Virtue;— the fair form as of an enchanted shepherdess, but courageous through and through, and armed for all adventure by the imperishable passion of her soul.
Let none imagine that the stronger love becomes, the more imperiously does it demand what is deemed the closest physical union. Not so! love passes beyond that desire; nor has earth a nearness so pervading as the embrace and encounter of the eyes. Deepest of all things in us is the mere sense of human fellowship; and this when raised to its highest intensity becomes manifest as a pre-natal and everlasting affinity, an indissoluble comradeship of souls. Only let that Being be! let her exist in the same universe, and the universe can never be forlorn.
This is the love which, as I have said in an essay on Mazzini, “grows more pervading through self-control, and more passionate through the austerity of honour, and only draws a stronger aliment from separation, anguish, and death.” Ay, even on earth, while I suffered with her suffering, while I watched her caught in the wheels of Destiny, and involved in the calamity of confused and straying souls, I could still feel that that was best which advanced her most swiftly; could still triumph for her in the victories of each dolorous day; could still desire for her even mortal anguish rather than that she should be unworthy of herself.
O three parts through the worst of Life’s abyss,
What plaudits from the next world after this,
Could’st thou repeat a stroke and gain the prize!
I would not change those few years of struggle side by side for a long life-time of happy union. Only on 426 days of my life,—now numbering more than 18,000 days,—did I look upon her face: but that was enough. Let two souls, I say, strive side by side, long enough to test and strain their utmost power; then let the nobler pass away; and let that other make of memory a call to highest hope.
And Love?—thine heart imagined, it may be,
Himself the Immortal here had lodged with thee?
Thou hadst clomb the heavens and caught him in the air,
And clasped him close, and felt that he was fair?
He hath but shown thee, when thou call’d’st him sweet,
His eyes’ first glance, and shimmer of flying feet
He hath but spoken, on his ascending way,
One least word of the words he hath yet to say.—
These lines were composed while she yet lived; nor have I known a more exultant hour than when, pacing in a frosty dawn where Cam flows by Trinity, I felt to the full that I had embarked on an eternal endeavour, and that earth at best could be but the dawn and prelude of Love’s unimaginable day.
I felt all this through saddest separation; while on Norwegian fjords above the long gulf of liquid darkness “the immeasurable heavens Brake open to their highest,” and the precipice barred with blackness the desolate influx of the sea. “I shall see her some time,” I would say to myself,—ἔσσεται ἢ ἤως—morn or noon or evening shall it be when my eyes shall meet hers once more, and I shall speak and hear my fill.” But that was not to be by morn or noon or evening of any earthly day.
Twelve years after her departing a message came. It was repeated; I feel it sure. I rest in the belief that love has surmounted the sundering crisis, and has lived beyond the gulf of death.
I have been speaking as though these convictions admitted of no doubt. And I believe that they will attain such certitude in the minds of coming men. But my own career has been a long struggle to seize and hold the actual truth amid illusion and fraud. I have been mocked with many a mirage, caught in many a Sargasso Sea. For there has been this of unique about my position, that from no conceit of my own capacity, but in the bitter need of truth, in the manifest dearth of allies and teachers, I have felt that I must absolutely form my own judgment as to man’s survival; must decide from facts known to myself,—known hardly to any others, or interpreted by those others in some different way. I could not attach much importance to any opinions except those of the Sidgwicks and Edmund Gurney. Who else knew what was to be known,—in its strength and its weakness? Gurney, up to the time of his death, was quite uncertain on this capital point. He still held that all proved phenomena were possibly explicable by new modes of action between living men alone. Sidgwick often thought this too; and his wife, though more steadily inclining to a belief in survival, was averse to pronouncing herself on the matter. I had therefore often a sense of great solitude, and of an effort beyond my strength;—“striving,”—as Homer says of Odysseus in a line which I should wish graven on some tablet in my memory,— “striving to save my own soul, and my comrades’ homeward way.”
Ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχήν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.
It was as late as November, 1887, that these doubts reached their worst intensity. The group who had consulted over Phantasms of the Living,—the group whom some regarded as facile in belief,·— were certainly then in no credulous mood. Sidgwick’s natural
scepticism and self-criticism asserted themselves more strongly than ever before. The collapse of Madame Blavatsky’s so-called Theosophy,—a mere fabric of fraud,—had rendered all of us severer in our judgment of the human evidence on which our own conclusions depended. Sidgwick urged that all that we had actually proved was consistent with eternal death. He thought it not improbable that this last effort to look beyond the grave would fail; that men would have to content themselves with an agnosticism growing yearly more hopeless,—and had best turn to daily duties and forget the blackness of the end.
His words touched many a latent doubt in my own bosom. As I have implied, the question was for me too vital to admit of my endeavouring for a moment to cheat myself into a false security. My mind had been ever eagerly on the watch for indications telling either way; and for a few days I was now overshadowed by Sidgwick’s loss of hope.
“Cela depasse,” says Flaubert of a similar anguish,—“cela depasse les limites de la souffrance humaine. C’est une mort plus profonde que la mort.”It is beyond the limits of human suffering. This is a death deeper than death. I will not retrace the blackness of that hour. It passed away; whether by dint of further study of evidence or by help from outside myself I hardly know. And next year my belief in survival was clenched, I trust for ever, by the message which Edmund Gurney, as elsewhere recounted, sent to me from beyond the tomb. His death, more powerful to help and comfort than even
his life had been, brought in strange commixture the yearning need of his companionship and yet the grateful sense of a supreme service, thus only possible for him toward those he loved.
And now the earthly scene, charged erewhile with such solemn sadness, has changed like the scene within. My wife is beloved and loving; my three children are an unfailing joy. All that lies around me breathes beauty and repose. The evening sun gilds this fair garden; the children play like leverets on the lawn; from my window I see quiet tilth and pasture beyond a girdling belt of flowers. This cannot be my destiny which is fulfilling itself in earthly felicity; it is the destiny of these innocent spirits linked with mine; but for me it is something accidental and posthumous, and presently it must fade away.
And yet, though I can feel no claim to happiness in an earthly future, the love of life burns strong as ever within me;—the love of life elsewhere! Yes, and I believe, as against all Stoic and Buddhist creeds, that this temper of mine, however much of chastening it still may need, may yet be that which best subserves the cosmic aim; which helps the Universe in its passage and evolution into fuller and higher life. To be purged, not dulled, is what we need; to intensify each his own being, a pulse of the existence of the All.
We need, as I have elsewhere said, a summons “to no houri-haunted paradise, no passionless contemplation, no monotony of prayer and praise; but to endless advance by endless effort, and, if need be, by endless pain.” Be it mine, then, to plunge among the unknown Destinies, to dare and still to dare! Only let one guardian Soul be with me still! The Christian will say that I have lost the belief in an omnipotent Friend. Nay, I will look upwards as to a Father; but my real fear is rather lest the soul that loved me once should have soared too high for my reaching than lest I should miss with pain the personal nearness of Almighty God. Alas! I am too weak for my destiny. I cannot live with dignity a life thus balanced amid inconceivable immensities, and which should be lifted by inward vision above the strifes and joys of men. Ah, sensual pre-occupations, self-condemnation ever new! Bear with me, whatsoever of highest can look without scorn upon my pain!
Meantime the background of Eternity shows steadfast through all the pageants of the shifting world. This gives majesty to solitary landscapes, and to the vault of night; it urges me to go out and to be alone; to pace in starlight the solemn avenues, and to gaze upon Arcturus with his sons.
on a spring morning at sea.
And such a sight as this is, I suppose,
Shall meet thee on the morrow of thy death;
And pearl to sapphire, opal into rose
Melt in that morn no heart imagineth;—
Fair as when now thine eyes thou dar’st not close
Lest the whole joy go from thee at a breath,
And the sea’s silence and the heaven’s repose
Evanish as a dream evanisheth.
Ay, there some jewelled visionary spring
Shall charm the strange shore and the glassy sea;
And from thee o’er some lucid ocean-ring
Thy phantom Past shall in a shadow flee;
And thou be in the Spirit, and everything
Born in the God that shall be bom in thee.
And now let my last word be of reverent gratitude to the Unimaginable Cause of all; to whom my thanks ascend in ancient and solemn
language, fuller, surely, of meaning now than ever heretofore throughout the whole story of the desires of men:—
The king shall rejoice in Thy strength, O Lord: exceeding glad shall he be of Thy salvation:
For Thou hast given him his heart's desire: and hast not denied him the request of his lips:
He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest him a long life: even for ever and ever.
Cambridge, July 2nd, 1893. F. W. H M.