Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/111

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We have suppressed mention of all facts which Bumble would fain ignore, and utterance of all opinions likely to disturb his sacred peace; we have canted enough to nauseate the angels, and have continually lied for God as for a man to pleasure him; so our popular books are fit for emasculated imbeciles, the Times is our leading journal, and the Daily Telegraph boasts the largest circulation in the world! And in the meanwhile the police-reports are full of putrid flesh, all the blue-books are crammed with statistical dry bones; flesh from the carcases and bones from the skeletons in that mass of death and corruption under our imperial whited sepulchre.

I do not complain of the kitchen-garden literature; many of the vegetables are very wholesome and savory in their season, very good for eating to-day and forgetting to-morrow; I complain that in the interest of kitchen-gardens the rearing of all grander and loftier vegetation, the growth of secular forest-kings has become almost impossible in England. The stupidest popular book would not be popular did it not find a large number of people still more stupid than itself, to whom it is really entertaining and instructive. These stupid people one does not blame, one can only pity or envy them according to one's mood. But what shall one say of that large number of educated people who are not stupid, who are familiar with continental literature; who yet, if an English book appears advocating ideas such as they have been delighted with in a French or German dress, feign astonishment and horror, and join with all the poor little curs of Bumbledom in yelping and snarling at it? These men who know well what they are doing are the accomplices of Bumble who does not know what he is doing, who fondly fancies that he is doing something very different, in starving on thin diet and stupifying with narcotic drugs the intellect of our nation once so robust and active; and assuredly if the process goes on much longer we shall come to rank mentally as a third-rate Power in Europe.