Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/230

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THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS

to say, that they were simply the happy circum- stance of the time in which she lived. Science, for instance, might have obtained the same de- gree of development under another monarch.

It is also possiole that literature might have flourished under another monarch, but I believe that the contention can be advanced, and ad- vanced truly, that the literature of the Victorian age to a large extent reflected the influence of the queen. To the eternal glory of the literature of the reign of Queen Victoria be it said, that it was pure and absolutely free from the gross- ness which disgraced it in former ages, and which still unhappily is the shame of the litera- ture of other countries. Happy indeed is the country whose literature is of such a character that it can be the intellectual food of the family circle; that it can be placed by the mother in the hands of her daughter with abundant as- surance that while the mind is improved the heart is not polluted. Such is the literature of the Victorian age. For this blessing, in my judgment, no small credit is due to the example and influence of our departed queen. It is a fact well known in history, that in England as in other countries, the influence of the sovereign was always reflected upon the literature of the reign. In former ages, when the court was impure, the literature of the nation was impure, but in the age of Queen Victoria, where the life of the court was pure, the literature of the age was pure also. If it be true that there is a real 196

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