Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/38

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more famous brethren. And of these primitive Hellenes, of Greeks like the Chaonians and Molossians, it is probably a very just account to give, that they lived in the open air, loved field-sports, and never read. And, explained in this way, Lord Beaconsfield's parallel of our aristocratic class with what he somewhat misleadingly calls the old Hellenic race appears ingenious and sound. To those lusty northerners, the Molossian or Chaonian Greeks,—Greeks untouched by the development which contradistinguishes the Hellene from the barbarian,—our aristocratic class, as he exhibits it, has a strong resemblance. At any rate, this class,—which from its great possessions, its beauty and attractiveness, the admiration felt for it by the Philistines or middle-class, its actual power in the nation, and the still more considerable destinies to which its politeness, in Mr. Carlyle's opinion, entitles it, cannot but attract our notice pre-eminently,—shows at present a great and genuine disregard for letters.

And perhaps, if there is any other body of men which strikes one, even after looking at our aristocratic class, as being in the sunshine, as exercising great attraction, as being admired by the Philistines or middle-class, and as having before it a future still more brilliant than its present, it is the friends of physical science. Now, their revolt against the tyranny of letters is notorious. To deprive letters of the too great place they have hitherto filled in men's estimation, and to substitute other studies for these, is the object of a sort of crusade with a body of people important in itself, but still more important because of the gifted leaders who march at its head.

Religion has always hitherto been a great power in England; and on this account, perhaps, whatever humiliations may be in store for religion in the future, the friends of physical science will not object to our saying, that, after