Page:Some aspects of the Victorian age.djvu/23

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THE VICTORIAN AGE

a very different type. A certain Puritan austerity and fervour streaked his intellect, as it dominated his life. He was no mere borrower of other men's ideas and systems. Indeed, both in his methods of thinking and his style of expression he had an almost angular individuality, which perhaps made him a less effective propagandist outside than his more fluent and facile fellow thinker, Edward Caird. But in teaching authority—in controlling and moulding influence over the ductile academic material—he was among the most potent of the Victorians.

I shall not trace the development of the struggle; still less pronounce any judgement upon its final issue. That would carry us well over the Victorian boundary. But I may quote the contemporary opinion of a great Oxford pundit of those days, who had long since ceased to have (in any dogmatic sense) opinions of his own—Mark Pattison. Pattison was a man of deep and wide erudition, who had been disappointed in life, and whose output, in volume at any rate, was far below his powers. Words which were written in a mood of candid friendship by one of the early Italian Humanists to another, might perhaps have been addressed to him: 'Melius erat non tantum sapere quantum sapis.'[1] In my time he was a dim, remote figure, passing his days, as Rector of Lincoln, in Llama-like seclusion, and (as was currently believed) in the company of the ghosts of Scaliger and Casaubon and F. A. Wolf. He had sowed his intellectual wild oats among the Tractarians thirty years before. Indeed, he spent something like seven or eight of the best years of his youth, under the

  1. See Sir J. E. Sandys's 'Harvard Lectures' (Cambridge, 1905), p. 44, n.