Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 09.djvu/131

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fitting embodiment of his graphic power, his shrewd insight into human nature, and his peculiar humour, which blends sympathy for the suffering with scorn for fools. His faults of style are the result of the perpetual straining for emphasis of which he was conscious, and which must be attributed to an excessive nervous irritability seeking relief in strong language, as well as to a superabundant intellectual vitality. Conventionality was for him the deadly sin. Every sentence must be alive to its finger's ends. As a thinker he judges by intuition instead of calculation. In history he tries to see the essential facts stripped of the glosses of pedants; in politics to recognise the real forces masked by constitutional mechanism; in philosophy to hold to the living spirit untrammelled by the dead letter. He thus cast aside contemptuously what often appeared to ordinary minds to be of the essence. Though no man was more hostile to materialism, he appeared as a sceptic in theology; and though more revolutionary in his aims than the ordinary radicals, they often confounded his contempt for ballot-boxes and parliamentary contrivances with a sympathy for arbitrary force. In truth, the prophet who reveals and the hero who acts could be his only guides. Their authority must be manifested by its own light, and the purblind masses must be guided by loyalty to heaven-sent leaders. No mechanical criterion can be provided, and the demand for such a criterion shows incapacity even to grasp the problem. The common charge that he confounded right with might was indignantly repudiated by him as the exact inversion of his real creed. That only succeeds which is based on divine truth, and permanent success therefore proves the right, as the effect proves the cause. But it must be confessed that the doctrine presupposes a capacity for ‘swallowing all formulas,’ or of overriding even moral conventions, in confidence of genuine insight into realities. The man who can safely break through ordinary rules must be guarded by a special inspiration, and by common observers the Cromwell must often be confounded with the Napoleon. Whatever may be thought of Carlyle's teaching, the merits of a preacher must be estimated rather by his stimulus to thought than by the soundness of his conclusions. Measured by such a test, Carlyle was unapproached in his day. He stirred the mass of readers rather by antagonism than sympathy; but his intense moral convictions, his respect for realities, and his imaginative grasp of historical facts give unique value to his writings. His autobiographical writings, with all their display of superficial infirmities, are at least so full of human nature as to be unsurpassable for interest even in the most fascinating department of literature.

The following writings of Carlyle have never been collected:—

Articles in Edinburgh Encyclopædia: Vol. xiv.: ‘Montaigne,’ ‘Lady M. W. Montagu,’ ‘Montesquieu,’ ‘Montfaucon,’ ‘Moore, Dr. J.,’ ‘Moore, Sir John.’ Vol. xv.: ‘Necker,’ ‘Nelson,’ ‘Netherlands,’ ‘Newfoundland,’ ‘Norfolk,’ ‘Northamptonshire,’ ‘Northumberland.’ Vol. xvi.: ‘Park, Mungo,’ ‘Pitt, W., Lord Chatham,’ and ‘Pitt, W.,’ 1820–1823.

New Edinburgh Review: ‘Joanna Baillie's Metrical Legends’ (October 1821); ‘Goethe's Faust’ (April 1822).

Fraser's Magazine: ‘Cruthers and Johnson’ (January 1831); ‘Peter Nimmo’ (February 1831); ‘Prefaces to Emerson's Essays,’ 1841 and 1844.

The following have been collected in the ‘Miscellanies:’—

Edinburgh Review: ‘J. P. F. Richter’ (June 1827); ‘State of German Literature’ (October 1827); ‘Life and Writings of Werner’ (January 1828); ‘Burns’ (December 1828); ‘Signs of the Times’ (June 1829); ‘Taylor's Historic Survey of German Poetry’ (March 1831); ‘Characteristics’ (December 1831); ‘Corn Law Rhymes’ (July 1832).

Foreign Review: ‘Life and Writings of Werner’ (January 1828); ‘Goethe's Helena’ (April 1828); ‘Goethe’ (July 1828); ‘Life of Heyne’ (October 1828); ‘German Playwrights’ (January 1829); ‘Voltaire’ (April 1829); ‘Novalis’ (July 1829); ‘J. P. F. Richter’ again (January 1830).

Foreign Quarterly Review: ‘German Literature of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries’ (October 1831); ‘Goethe's Works’ (August 1832); ‘Diderot’ (April 1833); ‘Dr. Francia’ (July 1843).

Fraser's Magazine: ‘Richter's Review of Mme. de Staël's Allemagne’ (February and May 1830); ‘Four Fables, by Pilpay junior,’ and ‘Cui bono?’ (September 1830); ‘Thoughts on History’ (November 1830); ‘The Beetle’ (February 1831); ‘Schiller’ (March 1831); ‘Sower's Song’ (April 1831); ‘Tragedy of the Night-moth’ (August 1831); ‘Schiller, Goethe, and Mme. de Staël (trans.) and Goethe's Portrait’ (March 1832); ‘Biography’ (April 1832); ‘Boswell's Life of Johnson’ (May 1832); ‘The Tale from Goethe’ (October 1832); ‘Novelle’ (November 1832); ‘Quæ cogitavit,’ on history again (May 1833); ‘Count Cagliostro’ (July and August 1833); ‘Death of Edward Irving’ (? February 1835); ‘Diamond Necklace’ (? January, February,