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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;
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
THE CLASSIC CHARACTER.
(Horror classicus.' - Ovid.
Aulus GELLIUS, in his Noctes Attico was I think the first who used the word classici as descriptive of writers occupying the first or highest class—the class, in fact-all others being below classification. The word, in Augustan Latin, seems to have had no such meaning. I remember well a schoolfellow of mine, a dunce most incorrigible, getting excellently flogged for translating the above words of Ovid, 'a horror of the classics' (which the hapless youngster, now a member of Her Majesty's Government, undoubtedly possessed), whereas really it signifies the
startling sound of a trumpet: and, as he set up a considerable screeching under the operation, classicus horror came to be the slang phrase for what schoolboys inelegantly term “ blubbing.' However, the word classic, in its later and wider sense, is useful, and suits my purpose. I should call not authors only, but all other men, classic, if the work they do, or the way in which they live, is unquestionably first-rate. The classic character involves a harmonious development of power, and a complete freedom from the meannesses of vice and of folly. To be born classic is not usually given to men: and the absurdity of modern education, which drives us all into one groove, and fosters competition, is not at all favourable to becoming classic. Our new School Boards will not agree with me, I know; they will do their utmost to carry further the old methods, to set one young brain against another, to develop certain faculties and leave others inert. Ambition is the ruling power of existent society: the classic character is without ambition. Worthy Mr. Walker, in his Original gives us this aphorism : “If any man possessed every qualification to succeed in life, it is probable that he would remain perfectly stationary. The consciousness of his
powers would tempt him to omit opportunity after opportunity to the end of his days. Those who do succeed, ordinarily owe their success to some disadvantage under which they labour, and it is the struggle against a difficulty that brings facilities into play.' Why should not a man remain perfectly sta
6 tionary' if the station whereto he is born is perfectly satisfactory? Had I been born to a comfortable country estate, I certainly would
Ι not have written three-volume novels. A gentleman should never trouble himself to write anything heavier than a lyric or an epigram. Walker is quite right in his assertion that incomplete men are the most likely