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public with new sensations. They invent social horrors, and lecture upon them with affected indignation. One week all English girls are wicked : another, all English matrons get tipsy in private. This kind of writing is usually done, I am told, by briefless young barristers, fresh from scrambling hot coppers from their Club windows to the University roughs, and too ignorant of the world to know the harm they are doing by such libels. They are not so much to blame as the sordid persons who employ them.

It would be tedious to trace the morbid tendency of contemporary literature through all its ramifications. Let me briefly recapitulate. The poet howls like a dog in the December moonlight about the miseries of this world and the uncertainties of the next. I say that, to the true poet and to the brave man, this world is full to the brim of happiness, and that the future is as certain as the truthfulness of God. The novelist

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puts on his scrofulous pages contemptible wretches who commit purposeless crimes. I say that such people are, luckily, very fewand that the writer who professes to depict life is not justified in disgusting us with such abominable inventions. The journalist ascribes to English ladies and gentleman a new vice and folly every week. Of him it is sufficient to say that he lies . . . for money.

Cannot we have a healthier literature ? Are we to be always at the mercy of people who seem as if they dined on underdone pork-chops washed down with laudanum? O for one hour of Jonathan Swift, to clear the literary atmosphere! Imagine a new Laputa, with Darwin and Tyndall and Huxley among its professors! What havoc would the mighty Dean make with our literary and scientific Yahoos.

Is it absolutely impossible to revive in England the literature which is natural to the national character ... a literature that is simple, healthy, true, Homeric, Shakespearian? The general argument is that the public get what they demand, and can expect nothing better ... indeed that anything better would not pay. But this argument involves two absurdities : that the professed leaders of thought should bring themselves down to the vulgar leveland that literature is to be measured only by its rate of payment. Better that the art of printing had not been invented than that it should find employment for men of ability mean enough to employ their ability in pandering to the opinions and passions of the mob for a pecuniary consideration. A man of genius who writes to live-and who consequently puts thoughts which he knows to be false into language that he knows to be contemptible—is one of the saddest objects that I know.

Why should we endlessly study the wrong side of the tapestry? Why always prefer the hideousness to the loveliness of life? Having tasted the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, does it necessarily follow that we should like the evil best? I do not. If any man replies that I have once or twice acted as if it were otherwise, I answer him with—

Video meliora, proboque;
Deteriora sequor.

This however is no longer my case,

I have come to the conclusion that if we were properly trained, no man of first-class intellect—classic intellect, I would call itwould condescend to the slightest vice or folly. Such training is obtainable: and mark how the results would lengthen the lives of those whose longevity is important.

The vile literature of the day is just as injurious to the mind as the adulterated beer supplied to the labouring man is to the body. I defy you to imbibe either without shortening your life. Both are salted to

prolong your thirst for them: both are injurious by crossing the healthy current of a man's life. Already I have indicated certain typical forms of this literature which are, in my judgment, unwholesome : to go farther than this would, perhaps, induce my readers to suppose that I felt some jealousy or envy of my superiors in the literary world. I am incapable of any such feeling. My cup, at least, is full. When I meet a man healthier than myself I may possibly envy him... but I don't think I shall.

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