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was my intention to have worked those principles out to their application, but I have already consumed more of your time than I desire to do during one evening. It seemed necessary to show, in the first place, that I appreciated the difficulties which are caused by the multiplicity of books; and then to set forth these essential principles of literature, as distinguished from mere books, that it is addressed to our universal human nature, and that it gives power not to the intellect alone, but to our whole spiritual being; and that if it be true to its high purpose, it gives power of wisdom and happiness. I felt it to be important also, with a view to some applications to be made in subsequent lectures—to consider the reciprocal relations of the manly and womanly mind. I propose in the next lecture to consider the application of these principles to habits and causes of reading; reserving for the third lecture the subject of the English language, to which I am anxious to devote an entire



IECTURE II. 3pplication of ¥iterary printiples.”

Narrow and exclusive lines of reading to be avoided—Catholicity of taste—Charles Lamb's idea of books—Ruskin—Habits of reading comprehensive—Ancient Literature—Foreign languages—Different eras of letters—English essay-writing—Macaulay—Southey— Scott and Washington Irving—Archdeacon Hare—Lord Bacon’s Essays—Poetic taste—Influence of individual pursuits—Friends in Council—Serious and gay books—English humour—Southey's ballad—Necessity of intellectual discipline—Disadvantage of courses of reading—Books not insulated things——Authors who guide— Southey's Doctor—Elia—Coleridge—Divisions of Prose and Poetry —Henry Taylor's Notes from Books—Poetry not a mere luxury of the mind—Arnold’s habits of study and taste—The practical and poetical element of Anglo-Saxon character—The Bible—Mosaic Poetry—Inadequacy of language—Lockhart's character of Scott— Arnold’s character of Scipio—Tragic Poetry—Poetry for children— Robinson Crusoe and the Arabian Nights—Wordsworth's Ode to Duty—Character of Washington.

IN my last lecture Isought to show how, amid the multitude of books, we must in the first place seek guidance for our choice by laying down in our minds certain general principles respecting the essential properties and uses of literature. I endeavoured to show that nothing but what is addressed to man as man is literature, and that that is more appropriately and eminently literature which gives power rather than knowledge, and that that is worthy literature which gives power for good, healthful strength

* January 10, 1851.

of mind, wisdom, and happiness. Now let us see how we can follow the principles out to practical uses. It might be thought that such a definition of literature was too narrow a one; that it was too high and serious a view of the subject; and that it would exclude much inoffensive and agreeable reading. When I speak of a book giving moral power and health, or even if I should use words of graver import, spiritual strength and health, I employ these expressions in their largest sense, as comprehending the whole range of our inner life, from the lonely and loftiest meditations down to casual, colloquial cheerfulness, so that literature, in its large compass, shall furnish sympathy and an answer to every human emotion, and to all moods of thought and feeling. It is important, in the first place, having settled in one's mind an idea of the general properties of literature, to give to it a large and liberal application: in other words, to avoid narrow and exclusive lines in reading, to cultivate a true catholicity of taste. In so doing, you enlarge your capacities of enjoyment; you expand the discipline as well as the delights of the mind. It is with books as with nature, travel widely, and while at one time, you may behold the glories of the mountains, or the sublimities of the sea, you shall at another take delight as genial in the valley and the brook. We must needs be watchful of our habits of reading in this respect, for favourite lines of reading may come to be too exclusive. A favourite author may have too large an occupation. Women should remember that in all that is essentially literature, they have a right in common with men, because the very essence of it is, that it addresses itself to no distinctive property of sex, but to human nature. They wrong themselves in shrinking from any portion of the literature of their race, and they wrong man by not fulfilling in this respect the duty of companionship. For man and woman, alike, liberal communion with books is needed. I have known a person acquire late in life a hearty and healthful enjoyment of books, by this simple principle of opening the mind to docile and varied intercourse with them. I have known, on the other hand, that power of enjoyment lost, after years of intelligent and habitual reading, by giving way to a narrow bigotry in the choice of books. Daintiness, let it be always remembered, is disease, and fastidiousness is weakness. The healthy appetite of mind or body is strength for all healthful food. There was wisdom under the humour when Charles Lamb said, “I have no repugnances. Shaftesbury is not too genteel for me, nor Jonathan Wild too low. I can read anything which I call a book.” And a living writer, who has, with high power and eloquence, treated man's sense of enjoyment of nature and art, remarks: “Our purity of taste is best tested by its universality, for if we can only admire this thing or that, we may be sure that our cause for liking is of a finite and false nature. But if we can perceive beauty in every thing of God's doing, we may agree that we have reached the true perception of its universal laws. Hence false taste may be known by its fastidiousness, by its demands of pomp, splendour, and unusual combination, by its enjoyment only of particular styles and modes of things, and by its pride also, for it is forever meddling, mending, accumulating, and self exulting; its eye is always upon itself, and it tests all things around it by the way they fit it. But true taste is forever growing, learning, reading, worshipping, laying its hand upon its mouth because it is astonished, casting its shoes from off its feet because it finds all ground holy, lamenting over itself, and testing itself by the way it fits things.” This finely-conceived contrast between the catholicity of true taste, and the narrowness of a false taste, is equally true as applied to literature. Indeed, it is matter of the highest moment in the guidance of our habits of reading to make them large and comprehensive; it is essential to a just judgment of books, and also to a full enjoyment of them. We form a truer estimate of things, when we rise to a high point, and get a larger field of vision. A knowledge of ancient literature, gives a deeper insight into the modern; if we see to what point, and in what manner, the pagan mind struggled, we can the better comprehend the higher destiny of the Christian mind. Acquaintance with foreign literature may help to a better estimate of our own. I shall have occasion hereafter, more than once, to trace the influences of the continental literature of Europe upon English literature. Let me here remark, that while the study of foreign languages and literature, along with many other advantages, may help us the better to understand and feel our own, it never can be made a substitute without great detriment. I make this remark, because in the education of the day, and especially in the education. of women, there is a tendency to give to the mind a direction too much away from the literature of our own speech. This arises partly, perhaps, from one of the misdirected aims of education, looking to the showiness of accomplish

* Lamb's Prose Works, vol. 3, p. 45. “Detached Thoughts on Works and Reading.”

# Ruskin’s Modern Painters, vol. 1, p. 23.
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