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chapter details the damages the poor Kaiser had to pay for meddling in Polish elections,-" for galloping thither in chase of Shadows This may be considered as the consummation of the Kaiser's Shadow-hunt; or at least its igniting and exploding point. . . Shadow-hunt is now all gone to Pragmatic Sanction, as it were: that is now the one thing left in Nature for a Kaiser; and that he will love, and chase, as the summary of all things." From this point we see him go steadily down, and at a rapid rate,-getting into disastrous Turkish wars, "with as little preparation for War or Fact as a life-long Hunt of Shadows presupposes."

Or let us take our stand, with the same philosopher, in that Eil-de-Bœuf, in the Versailles Palace Gallery-through which what Figures have passed, and vanished! "Figures? Men? They are fast-fleeting Shadows; fast chasing each other: it is not a Palace, but a Caravansery."

Macaulay has his Sermon in a Churchyard. To that spot the homilist invites all and sundry, and he takes his standpoint for his text. Come to this school of his, he bids us, with the promise that there we shall learn, "in one short hour of placid thought, a stoicism more deep, more stern, than ever Zeno's porch hath taught:"

The plots and feats of those that press
To seize on titles, wealth or power,
Shall seem to thee a game of chess,
Devised to pass a tedious hour.
What matters it to him who fights
For shows of unsubstantial good,
Whether his kings, and queens, and knights,
Be things of flesh, or things of wood?

We check and take, exult, and fret;
Our plans extend, our passions rise,

Till in our ardour we forget

How worthless is the victor's prize.
Soon fades the spell, soon comes the night:
Say will it not be then the same,
Whether we played the black or white,
Whether we lost or won the game?

This may remind us of Mrs. Battle's apology for whist, or of the concluding sentence in a characteristic confession by Benjamin Constant-who, by the way, had said of himself in a previous letter, Je passerai comme une OMBRE sur la terre entre le malheur et l'ennui-he records his sentiment profond et (like his name) constant of the shortness of life-a sentiment, he says, so deep and so constant that it makes the pen or the book drop from his hand whenever he takes to study: "Nous n'avons pas plus de motifs pour acquérir de la gloire, pour conquérir un empire, ou pour faire un bon livre, que nous n'en avons pour faire une promenade ou une partie de whist." Even so utterly different a man in creed

and character as Joseph de Maistre could exclaim, "Ah! le vilain monde! j'ai toujours dit qu'il ne pourrait aller si nous avions le sens commun... C'est notre folie qui fait tout aller." Else when we see especially when death brings home to us, strikes home to us-what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue, "en vérité chacun se coucherait et daignerait à peine s'habiller." N'importe! tout marche et c'est assez. And readers of M. de Tocqueville's letters will remember how often that philosophic writer confides to his correspondents his conviction that there is no one thing in the world capable of fixing and satisfying him. He had attained a success unhoped for at the beginning of his career, but was far from happy. Often, in imagination, he would fancy himself at the summit of human greatness; and when there, the conviction would force itself irrepressibly upon him, that the same painful sensations would follow him to that sublime altitude.

Succeeding? What is the great use of succeeding? muses the master showman of Vanity Fair. Failing? Where is the great harm? "Psha! These things appear as nought, when Time passes Time the consoler-Time the anodyne-Time the grey calm satirist, whose sad smile seems to say, Look, O man, at the vanity of the objects you pursue, and of yourself who pursue them!"

Dust are our frames; and, gilded dust, our pride
Looks only for a moment whole and sound;
Like that long-buried body of the king,
Found lying with his urns and ornaments,
Which at a touch of light, an air of heaven,
Slipt into ashes and was found no more.

The professed cynic, remarks an essayist on the theme of Occasional Cynicism, has reached the delightful conclusion that "the whole thing," by which he means life and all its interests, is a sheer mistake and piece of confusion. And as it presents itself to the grander and loftier type of mind, this difficulty is held by the same writer to be the "starting-point of all systems of religion and philosophy, of which it is the object to show either that aims exist before men's eyes that are solid realities worth pursuing, and not mere shadows, or else that even shadows are better worth pursuing in some one way than in all others."

Jeffrey's earlier letters abound in almost cynical reflections on the folly of ambition and the "ridiculous self-importance" implied in "heroic toils." The whole game of life seemed to him a little childish, "and the puppets that strut and look lofty very nearly as ridiculous those that value themselves on their airs and gracespoor little bits of rattling timber-to be jostled in a bag as soon as the curtain drops." "God help us, it is a foolish little thing this human life at the best; and it is half ridiculous and half pitiful to


see what importance we ascribe to it, and to its little ornaments and distinctions," &c. We are, as a modern poet of name and promise puts it, for ever at hide-and-seek with our souls:

Not in Hades alone

Doth Sisyphus roll, ever frustrate, the stone,
Do the Danaids ply, ever vainly, the sieve.
Tasks as futile does earth to its denizens give.

When we reflect on the shortness and uncertainty of life, how despicable, exclaims David Hume, seem all our pursuits of happiness! And even if we would extend our concern beyond our own life, he goes on to say, how frivolous appear our most enlarged and most generous projects, when we consider the incessant changes and revolutions of human affairs, by which laws and learning, books and governments, are hurried away by time, as by a rapid stream, and are lost in the immense ocean of matter. If such a reflection certainly tends to mortify all our passions, does it not, asks the essayist, thereby counterwork the artifice of nature, by which we are "happily deceived into an opinion that human life is of some importance? And may not such a reflection be employed with success by voluptuous reasoners, in order to lead us from the paths of action and virtue into the flowery fields of indolence and pleasure?" The Chinese have been pointed to, by a moral philosopher, to point his moral, which is, the desolating tendency of Secularism -they having learnt practically, as well as theoretically, to think of themselves as mere transitory beings, who have no future life to expect, and no present Providence to reverence or fear; and the result he takes to be, that they are the meanest, the most deceitful, and one of the most vicious nations in the world—a people who literally sit in darkness, and whose lives are passed in the shadow of death. "In all the world there is no more terrible or instructive example of the practical results of looking upon men as mere passing shadows, who have no superior and no hereafter." succeed, this writer argues, in persuading men that they are mere passing phenomena, possessing no more distinctive qualities than the successive waves of the sea, and the consequence is inevitable. "They will cease-gradually, imperceptibly, and with all sorts of moral, and perhaps religious, reflections on their lips-to care for what is great, permanent, and noble, and they will become, in the fullest sense of the words, beasts that perish."


Many men, says Archdeacon Hare, spend their lives in gazing at their own shadows, and so dwindle away into shadows thereof. And one of his companion guessers at truth remarks, that instead of watching the bird as it flies above our heads, we chase his shadow along the ground; and, finding we cannot grasp it, we conclude it to be nothing.

If man be a reality, says John Sterling, no empty vision in the

dreaming soul of nature, but inwardly substantial and personal, that which he most earnestly desires, which best satisfies his whole being, must be real too. And here is a parallel passage from a later author:

Yes, this life is the war of the False and the True.
Yet this life is a truth; though so complex to view
That its latent veracity few of us find. . . .
Ay, the world but a frivolous phantasm seems,
And mankind in the mass but as motes in sunbeams;
But when Fate, from the midst of this frivolous nature,
Selects for her purpose some frail human creature,
And the Angel of Sorrow, outstretching a wan
Forefinger to mark him, strikes down from the man
The false life that hid him, the man's self appears
A solemn reality: Him the dread spheres
Of heaven and hell with their forces dispute,
And dare we be indifferent? Hence, and be mute,
Light scoffer, vain trifler! Through all thou discernest
A Greater than thou is at work, and in earnest;
And he who dares trifle with man, trifles too
With man's awful Maker. . .



CROWDS, crowds, where'er I turn; I cannot flee
Life's quick, wild whirl; I can no exit see
From thy blind maze, close-pent humanity!

Crowds, crowds; they press along this bustling street,
With anxious eyes, their business to be fleet,
As if their souls obeyed their hurrying feet.

Crowds, crowds; did heaven mean man to turn away
From leafy wood, moss'd vale, and mountain grey,
And all fair earth reveals by night, by day;

To gather in close masses, making here
Life no calm walk, to thought and nature dear,
But a wild rush of passion, hope, and fear?
The mid-day sky, a voiceless arch, is spread,
A few dun clouds move silently o'erhead,
Here, only here, is tumult's tossing bed.
London, thy wealth I see in gorgeous square,
In carriages that dash, in marts that glare,
In rich attire that fashion's votaries wear.

London, thy lean pinched poverty I meet,
In many an alley dark, and noisome street,
Where want, vice, suffering, make their hideous seat.

O from this world of hearts what secret cries,
What varied sounds, contrasted, mount the skies,
From mirth's loud laugh to grief's despairing sighs!
Angels may hover in this noontide air,

To waft to heaven's bright gate the good man's prayer,
While fiends to hell the oath and curse may bear.

I leave the abodes of splendour, moving slow,

Pass domed St. Paul's, that, crowned with heaven's soft glow,

Looks Titan-like on pigmy men below.

The bell in thunder smites the quivering air,
And cries, "Another hour! reflect! prepare!"
But for Time's preaching nought these hurriers care.
I gaze upon a forest-not of trees

Filled with gay birds, and whispering to the breeze
Sweet idyl-songs, and fairy melodies;

But a wide wood of ships from every land,
Wafting earth's treasures to our northern strand-
Ships in their vast array how proud, how grand!

I wander east, and pass the hoary Tower,

Where flit the shades at evening's glimmering hour, Of valour, beauty, slain by ruthless power.

Beyond, a maze of houses stretches still,

Mixed with foul dens which squalor's children fill,
Battling through life with churlish want and ill.

Yet spite of poverty, and vice, and woe,
Crowds move and toss, and here may throb and glow
Good, virtuous hearts amid the vile, the low.
O London! where thy end? the pilgrim cries;
Monster of life! great sun that draws all eyes!
Seat of wealth, want, of joys and miseries!
Strange a small isle, to other lands a span,
Savage, despised, when Rome led glory's van,
Should boast the mightiest city known to man!

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