Page images
PDF
EPUB

done so-yet in the end a considerable modification of opinions was produced; in one of his letters to me, written a much later period, he mentions this change. In truth, th were those among us calculated to produce an impression his affectionate heart and ardent ingenuous mind; and rather because the more we saw of bim, and the more we bat with him, the more manifestly did we respect and love 1 The feeling with which we argued gave additional power to arguments over a disposition such as his; and thus he beca attached to young men of the most different tastes and tellects; his love for each taking a different colour, more less blended with respect, fondness, or even humour, accord to those differences; and in return they all uniting in love respect for him. There will be some few to whom these remembrances will

SI with touching truth; they will remember his single-hearted devout schoolfellow, who early gave up his native land, devoted himself to the missionary cause in India; the h souled and imaginative, though somewhat indolent lad, came to us from Westminster-one bachelor, whose fat] connexion with the House of Commons, and residence in P: Yard, made him a great authority with us as to the world v out, and the statesmen whose speeches he sometimes heard we discussed much as if they had been personages in hist and whose remarkable love for historical and geographics search, and his proficiency in it, with his clear judgment, humour, and mildness in communicating information, 1 him peculiarly attractive to Arnold ;-and above all, our s among the under-graduates, though my junior in years author of the Christian Year, who came fresh from the s teaching of his venerable father, and achieved the his honours of the University at an age when others frequentl but on her threshold. Arnold clung to all these with fidelity, but regarded each with different feelings; each duced on him a salutary, but different effect. His love fo without exception I know, if I know anything of an man's heart, continued to his life's end; it survived (hoy the mournful facts be concealed in any complete and t telling narrative of his life ?) separation, suspension of intercourse, and entire disagreement of opinion, with the last of these, on points believed by them both to be of essential importance. These two held their opinions with a zeal and tenacity proportionate to their importance; each believed the other in error pernicious to the faith and dangerous to himself; and what they believed sincerely, each thought himself bound to state, and stated it openly, it may be with too much of warmth; and unguarded expressions were unnecessarily, I think inaccurately, reported. Such disagreements in opinion between the wise and good are incident to our imperfect state; and even the good qualities of the heart, earnestness, want of suspicion, may lay us open to them; but in the case before me the affectionate interest with which each regarded the other never ceased. I had the good fortune to retain the intimate friendship and correspondence of both, and I can testify with authority that the elder spoke and wrote of the younger as an elder brother might of a younger whom he tenderly loved, though he disapproved of his course; while it was not in Arnold's nature to forget how much he had owed to Keble: he bitterly lamented, what he laboured to avert, the suspension of their intimate intercourse; he was at all times anxious to renew it; and although, where the disagreement turned on points so vital between men who held each to his own so conscientiously, this may have been too much to expect, yet it is a most gratifying thought to their common friends that they would probably have met at Fox How under Arnold's roof, but a few weeks after he was called away to that state, in which the doubts and controversies of this life will receive their clear resolution.

I return from my digression,-Arnold came to us of course not a formed scholar, por, I think, did he leave the college with scholarship proportioned to his great abilities and opportunities. And this arose in part from the decided preference which he gave to the philosophers and historians of antiquity over the poets, coupled with the distinction which he then made, erroneous as I think, and certainly extreme in degree, between words and things, as he termed it. His correspondence with me will show how much he modified this too in after life; but at that time he was led by it to undervalue those niceties of language, the intimate acquaintance with which he did not then perceive to be absolutely necessary to a precise knowledge of the meaning of the author. His compositions, therefore, at this time, though full of matter, did not give promise of that clear and spirited style which he afterwards mastered; he gained no verse prize, but was an unsuccessful competitor for the Latin Verse in the year 1812, when Henry Latham succeeded, the third brother of that house who had done so; and though this is the only occasion on which I have any memorandum of his writing, I do not doubt that he made other attempts. Among us were several who were fond of writing English verse; Keble was even then raising among us those expectations, which he has since so fully justified, and Arnold was not slow to follow the example. I have several poems of his written about this time, neat and pointed in expression, and just in thought, but not remarkable for fancy or imagination. I remember some years after, his telling me that he continued the practice “on principle," he thought it a useful and humanizing exercise.

But, though not a poet himself, he was not insensible of the beauties of poetry-far from it. I reflect with some pleasure, that I first introduced him to what has been somewhat unreasonably called the Lake Poetry; my near relation to one, and connexion with another of the poets, whose works were called, were the occasion of this; and my uncle having sent me the Lyrical Ballads, and the first edition of Mr. Wordsworth's poems, they became familiar among us.

We were proof, I am glad to think, against the criticism, if so it might be called, of the “Edinburgh Review;" we felt their truth and beauty, and became zealous disciples of Wordsworth's philosophy. This was of peculiar advantage to Arnold, whose leaning was too direct for the practical and evidently useful—it brought out in him that feeling for the lofty and imaginative which appeared in all his intimate conversation, and may be seen spiritualizing those even of his writings, in which, from their subject, it might seem to have less place. You know in

[ocr errors]

later life how much he thought his beloved Fox How enhanced in value by its neighbourhood to Rydal Mount, and what store he set on the privilege of frequent and friendly converse with the venerable genius of that sweet spot.

But his passion at the time I am treating of was for Aristotle and Thucydides; and however he became some few years after more sensible of the importance of the poets in classic literature, this passion he retained to the last; those who knew him intimately or corresponded with him, will bear me witness how deeply he was imbued with the language and ideas of the former; how in earnest and unreserved conversation, or in writing, his train of thoughts was affected by the Ethics and Rhetoric; how he cited the maxims of the Stagyrite as oracles, and how his language was quaintly and racily pointed with phrases from him. I never knew a man who made such familiar, even fond use of an author: it is scarely too much to say, that he spoke of him as of one intimately and affectionately known and valued by him; and when he was selecting his son's University, with much leaning for Cambridge, and many things which at the time made him incline against Oxford, dearly as he loved her, Aristotle turned the scale ; "I could not consent,” said he, " to send my son to a University where he would lose the study of him altogether.” “You may be

“ lieve,” he said with regard to the London University, “that I have not forgotten the dear old Stagyrite in our examinations, and I hope that he will be construed and discussed in Somerset House as well as in the schools." His fondness for Thucydides first prompted a Lexicon Thucydideum, in which he made some progress at Laleham in 1821 and 1822, and ended as you know in his valuable edition of that author.

Next to these he loved Herodotus. I have said that he was not, while I knew him at Oxford, a formed scholar, and that he composed stiffly and with difficulty, but to this there was a seeming exception; he had so imbued himself with the style of Herodotus and Thucydides, that he could write narratives in the style of either at pleasure with wonderful readiness, and as we thought with the greatest accuracy. I remember, too, an ac

a

count by him of a Vacation Tour in the Isle of Wight, after the manner of the Anabasis.

Arnold's bodily recreations were walking and bathing. It was a particular delight to him, with two or three companions, to make what he called a skirmish across the country; on these occasions we deserted the road, crossed fences, and leaped ditches, or fell into them: he enjoyed the country round Oxford, and while out in this way his spirits would rise, and his mirth overflowed. Though delicate in appearance, and not giving promise of great muscular strength, yet his form was light, and he was capable of going long distances and bearing much fatigue.

You know that to his last moment of health he had the same predilections ; indeed he was, as much as any I ever knew, one whose days were

“ Bound each to each by natural piety."

His manner had all the tastes and feelings of his youth, only more developed and better regulated. The same passion for the sea and shipping, and his favourite Isle of Wight; the same love for external nature, the same readiness in viewing the characteristic features of a country and its marked positions, or the most beautiful points of a prospect, for all which he was remarkable in after life, we noticed in him then. When Professor Buckland, then one of our Fellows, began his career in that science, to the advancement of which he has contributed so much, Arnold became one of his most earnest and intelligent pupils, and you know how familiarly and practically he applied geological facts in all his later years.

In June, 1812, I was elected Fellow of Exeter College, and determined to pursue the law as my profession: my residence at Oxford was thenceforward only occasional; but the friendship which had grown up between us suffered no diminution. Something, I forget now the particular circumstance, led to an

I interchange of letters, which ripened into a correspondence, continued with rather unusual regularity when our respective occupations are considered, to within a few days of his death. It

« PreviousContinue »