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2. The other arts felt the new impulse as much as music and developed rapidly during the first half of the century. Lawrence and Constable, Turner and David Cox, Etty and Landseer, Wilkie and Cruikshank raised the art of the brush and pencil higher than it had ever reached in England. Sculpture and architecture, though they did not advance as much as painting, received an impetus, the one from the study of the newly discovered specimens of Greek statuary, the other from the new enthusiasm for the old Gothic churches and abbeys. These arts have ever a refining influence on both writers and readers and they inspire literature and are inspired by it. The work of Turner with its hazy power and suggestiveness is the counterpart of much of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's and most of Shelley's and Keats'. The Lines on Tintern Abbey, The Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, Christabel, Alastor, and Endymion have the grandeur of the half-seen and mystical about them; they depict the beauty of nature with an atmosphere of the spiritual meaning that is behind it. Their pictures have the boundary line between the seen and the unseen left undefined, like those of Turner's later style. And most of the poets aimed at complete portraits or pictures of nature, whilst the novelists began to interpanel their scenes and conversations with landscape. And the art of illustration, now that it had been brought to bear on books, confirmed this tendency in fiction and descriptive or narrative poetry. Dickens began his career as a novelist by writing the letter-press for a series of plates by Seymour; the result was the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club; and the habit of keeping a definite picture in his mind seems to have followed him all through his novels. Thackeray had much of the same habit of mind from his work as a draughtsman. It is some striking scene that these two writers are ever aiming at for the display of their best art. In poetry it is the same; Scott is nothing if he is not a picturesque poet, and Childe Harold is little else than a series of poetical pictures. Sculpture we can see guiding the imagination of many of the writers of the period; its influence is apparent in some of De Quincey's sketches, in Mrs. Shelley's Frankenstein, and in Landor's Imaginary Conversations. Whilst the new developments of architecture enabled the poets and novelists to build with their
imagination "wondrous pleasure-domes" in their productions.
3. But it is the arts of acting and oratory that are nearest to imaginative literature; and though they had fallen into a subordinate place compared with other arts, they perhaps affected it more than they. The Kembles and Keans, Macready and Phelps quite sustained the histrionic art at the height to which Garrick had raised it. And not a few of the writers of the period were good actors, like Sheridan Knowles and Dickens, or stage critics like Lamb and Thackeray, or were ambitious of writing for the stage like Coleridge and Byron, Douglas Jerrold and Bulwer Lytton, Browning and Tennyson. The division of the drama into acting drama and poetical drama did not prevent the poets striving to succeed in both. The recurrent revival of Shakespeare's plays upon the stage kept alive the idea that stage success could be combined with true poetry and deep thought. It was ever forgotten that the drama was the chief medium of popular literature and thought in the reign of Elizabeth; there was no journalism, no fiction, no secular oratory, no essay, no intellectual amusement then; all those who wished to get into touch with the intellectual world or even the world of action went to the theatre, unless they were absorbed in theology; it was the national entertainment, the national rostrum, the national press; it had no rival in the mind of the English people. All this had changed and draining through the Restoration comedy the art had lost its hold upon all the serious sections of the English public; it had become but the passing amusement of the more leisured strata of city society; the change of the time of representation from the afternoon to the three hours before midnight is significant; the theatrical audiences of Elizabeth's time had brought their faculties in the keenest condition to the enjoyment of the plays; it was a strenuous amusement, the mental counterpart to the open-air exercises of the English people; by the nineteenth century it had become a passive enjoyment to be ranked with that of any spectacle which would fill in the fagged hours between dinner and sleep. It matters not how poetic or creative the mind that may apply itself to the
dramatic art, it can never become national in England again, till its literary rivals are silenced and a national audience again brings the most strenuous thought to its enjoyment.
4. The acting drama remained in our period a subordinate literary form, with a strong influence over the dialogue and plot of fiction. It made readers expect a well-concealed dénouement and a narrative interlarded with conversational scenes. The poetical drama affected both poetry and prose. Much of the poetry became dramatic in spirit even when it was not so in form; the monologue in character, especially in the latter part of the period, grew to be a common type of vigorous poetry; Browning raised it to its highest point of art. The dramatic scene or conversation also became a favourite with imaginative writers. In the hands of Landor and Helps it brought prose close to the realm of poetry.
5. Oratory, too, retired into the background of literature, although it progressed and developed greatly during the period. It was now drawn from the court of justice and the House of Commons to the hustings and the public meeting. It was largely popularised during the period. Even forensic and parliamentary eloquence acquired a popular tone from the elaborate reports of speeches in the daily newspapers. Verbatim reporting had introduced a new era into oratory; it ensured for the best efforts of the art permanence in literature. And thus more brilliancy and imagination, more accuracy of style and more thought appeared in the finest productions of the forum and the pulpit. More attention was paid to oratory as an art; Canning and Brougham, O'Connell and Shiel, Macaulay and Derby, Cobden and Bright, Disraeli and Gladstone appeared as parliamentary and popular orators; and their speeches had as great effect as the greatest of the past. Hall and Foster, Chalmers and Guthrie, Channing and Edward Irving, Newman and Wilberforce, Maurice and Robertson raised the reputation of English didactic eloquence.
6. It is a popular atmosphere and a great cause that nurture oratory best. And the American republic with its democratic atmosphere and its slavery question is one of the
best examples of this; it had more men of eloquence as compared with men of letters during this period than all the monarchies of Europe put together; Clay and Calhoun, Webster and Wendell Phillips, Channing and Theodore Parker, Sumner and Greely, Gough and Ward Beecher give oratory a disproportionate importance in American literature when compared with that of any other country in the time. In English literature it had a minor place; and yet it helped to mould the prose style. Journalism acquired a tinge of rhetoric from it. For some of the most brilliant critics and essayists entered parliament; whilst others were engaged in discussing parliamentary and popular speeches in leading articles. The style of Brougham and Jeffrey and Sydney Smith was moulded by their oratorical pursuits; and it gave the cue to magazinism through the earlier part of the period. The prose of Coleridge, philosophical though it meant to be, was tinged with his inclination to preach. Thomas Browne and Christopher North were drawn into a rhetorical style by the influence of their professional pursuits. And some of the most prominent writers were also clergymen; the historical style of Milman and Thirlwall, Merivale and Lingard, the philosophical style of Maurice and Mansel, Whately and Martineau could not but be tinged by the rhetoric of the pulpit. Crabbe and Bowles, Heber and Croly, Keble and Kingsley could not escape in their poetry the didactic tone or the rhetorical form that their profession was certain to give. The influence of oratory is apparent in the essay-style of Hazlitt and De Quincey and in passages in the fiction of Bulwer Lytton and Disraeli and Kingsley. Even Carlyle and Buckle, philosophical and elevated though they aim at being, are often infected with the pulpiteering style of the age; they can seldom refrain from preaching. But the salient instance of the influence of oratory is Macaulay; much as he protests against the Johnsonian balanced sentence, there is no better instance of regular rhetorical construction and rhythm in the nineteenth century than his own; he is on the rostrum whether he is reviewing a book or drawing a character, making an abstract of a diary, or homing a charge, writing an essay or making a speech, describing a battle or whitewashing a hero. Essayist or parliamentary orator, critic or historian, it is all the same; he
is ever the rhetorician and preacher with a popular but educated audience before him. The new reading public had been accustomed for generations to sermons; and when they turned to a secular literature they still expected something of the sermon. It was this that made the essay next to the novel the most important form of literature; and it was this that made Macaulay so popular and fiction so didactic.
But if the arts moulded the style and coloured the spirit of literature, the sciences had most to do with renewing its ideas. And never was there a period more fertile in the results of scientific research. But of the sciences it was astronomy that most impressed the popular mind; its discoveries and thoughts and speculations gave infinite meaning to the nightly spectacle that met the eye of the commonest observer and chimed with the most reverent of religious feelings. In the earlier half of the century no science was so popular as this. With little trouble the astronomer could strip his thoughts and discoveries of all abstruseness and appeal direct to the primitive sense of poetry in the human breast. It was thus that the names of Herschel, Whewell, Nichol, Brewster, Baden Powell, Mary Somerville were as widely known amongst popular readers as in the scientific world. The vast spaces and numbers and sizes to be dealt with were deeply impressive to minds that were essentially arithmetical from long contact with trade and commerce. The East, out of which the Bible— the book of the new audience—came, had been as devoted to astronomy; this is the science that moulds the thought and picturesqueness of some of its most striking poetry. It was natural then that minds saturated with Biblical imagery should greatly enjoy the discoveries that the great telescopes now made. Astronomy seemed almost a religious science, it gave such a sense of that infinity which is the essence of Godhead; it deepened that awe which is the basis of worship. It was, therefore, the science that most gave its spirit and thought to the new literature. We find it tinge some of the best sermons and stimulate great eloquence as in Chalmer's Astronomical Discourses. It became part of