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ledge, to the serving of his country, to the indulgence of his sentiment, and he is now what is called a rich manthe menial and runner of his riches.
Hence it happens that the whole interest of history lies in the fortunes of the poor. Knowledge, Virtue, Power, are the victories of man over his necessities his march to the dominion of the world. Every man ought to have this opportunity to conquer the world for himself. Only such persons interest us - Spartans, Romans, Saracens, English, Americans—who have stood in the jaws of need, and have by their own wit and might extricated themselves, and made man victorious.
I do not wish to overstate this doctrine of labour, or insist that every man should be a farmer, any more than that every man should be a lexicographer. In general, one may say, the husbandman's is the oldest and most universal profession; and that where a man does not yet discover in himself any fitness for one work more than another, this may be preferred. But the doctrine of the Farm is merely this, that every man ought to stand in primary relations with the work of the world; ought to do it himself, and not to suffer the accident of his having a purse in his pocket, or his having been bred to some dishonourable and injurious craft, to sever him from those duties; and for this reason, that labour is God's education; that he only is a sincere learner, he only can become a master, who learns. the secrets of labour, and who, by real cunning, extorts from Nature its sceptre.
Neither would I shut my ears to the plea of the learned professions—of the poet, the priest, the lawgiver, and men of study generally; namely, that in the experience of all men of that class, that degree of manual labour which is necessary to the maintenance of a family, indisposes and disqualifies for intellectual exertion. I know it often, perhaps usually, happens, that where there is a fine organization, apt for poetry and philosophy, that individual finds himself compelled to wait on his thoughts, to waste several days that he may
enhance and glorify one; and is better taught by a moderate and dainty exercise, such as rambling in the fields, rowing, skating, hunting, than by the downright drudgery of the farmer and the smith. I would not quite forget the venerable counsel of the ancient Egyptian mysteries, which declared that “ There were two pair of eyes in man, and it is requisite that the pair which are beneath should be closed, when the pair that are above them perceive; and that when the pair above are closed, those which are beneath should be opened." Yet I will suggest, that no separation from labour can be without some loss of power and of truth to the seer himself; that, I doubt not, the faults and vices of our literature and philosophy, their too great fineness, effeminacy, and melancholy, are attributable to the enervated and sickly habits of the literary class. Better that the book should not be quite so good, and the bookmaker abler and better, and not himself often a ludicrous contrast to all that he has written.
But granting that for ends so sacred and dear, some relaxation must be had, I think, that if a man find in himself any strong bias to poetry, to art, to the contemplative life, drawing him to these things with a devotion incompatible with good husbandry, that man ought to reckon early with himself, and respecting the compensations of the Universe, ought to ransom himself from the duties of economy, by a certain rigour and privation in his habits. For privileges so rare and grand, let him not stint to pay a great tax. Let him be a conobite, a pauper, and, if need be, celibate also. Let him learn to eat his meals standing, and to relish the taste of fair water and black bread. He may leave to others the costly conveniences of housekeeping, and large hospitality, and the possession of works of art. Let him feel that genius is a hospitality, and that he who can create works of art needs not collect them. He must live in a chamber, and postpone his self-indulgence, forewarned and forearmed against that frequent misfortune of men of genius--the taste for luxury. This is the tragedy of genius; attempting to drive along the ecliptic with one horse of the heavens and one horse of the earth, there is only discord, ruin, and downfall, to chariot and charioteer.
The duty that every man should assume his own vows, should call the institutions of society to account, and examine their fitness to him, gains in emphasis, if we look now at our modes of living. Is our housekeeping sacred and honourable ? Does it raise and inspire us, or does it cripple us instead? I ought to be armed by every part and function of my household, by all my social function, by my economy, by my feasting, by my voting, by my traffic. Yet now I am almost no party to any of these things. Custom does it for me, gives me no power therefrom, and runs me in debt to boot. We spend our incomes for paint and paper, for a hundred trifles, I know not what, and not for the things of a man. Our expense is almost all for conformity. It is for cake that we run in debt; 'tis not the intellect, not the heart, not beauty, not worship, that costs so much. Why needs any man be rich? Why must he have horses, and fine garments, and handsome apartments, and access to public houses, and places of amusement ? Only for want of thought. Once waken in him a divine thought, and he flees into a solitary garden or garret to enjoy it, and is richer with that dream than the fee of a county could make him. But we are first thoughtless, and then find we are moneyless. We are first sensual, and then must be rich. We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend, and so we buy ice-creams. He is accustomed to carpets, and we have not sufficient character to put floor-cloths out of his mind whilst he stays in the house, and so we pile the floor with carpets. Let the house rather be a temple of the Furies of Lacedæmon, formidable to all, which none but a Spartan may enter or so much as behold. As soon as there is faith, as soon as there is society, comfits and cushions will be left to slaves. Expense will be inventive and heroic, We shall eat hard and lie hard, we shall dwell like the ancient Romans in narrow tenements, whilst our public
edifices, like theirs, will be worthy for their proportion of the landscape in which we set them, for conversation, for art, for music, for worship. We shall be rich to great purposes; poor only for selfish ones. Now what help for these evils? How can the man who has learned but one art procure all the conveniences of life honestly? Shall we say all we think ?-Perhaps with his own hands. Suppose he collects or makes them ill; yet he has got their lesson. If he cannot do that—Then perhaps he can go without. Immense wisdom and riches are in that. It is better to go without, than to have them at too great a cost. Let us learn the meaning of economy. Economy is a high, humane office, a sacrament, when its aim is grand; when it is the prudence of simple tastes, when it is practised for freedom, or love, or devotion. Much of the economy which we see in houses is of a base origin, and is best kept out of sight. Parched corn eaten to-day, that I may have roast fowl to my dinner on Sunday is a baseness; but parched corn and a house with one apartment, that I may be free of all perturbations of mind, that I may be serene and docile to what the God shall speak, and girt and road-ready for the lowest mission of knowledge or goodwill, is frugality for gods and heroes.
Can we not learn the lesson of self-help? Society is full of infirm people, who incessantly summon others to serve them. They contrive everywhere to exhaust for their single comfort the entire means and appliances of that luxury to which our invention has yet attained. Sofas, ottomans, stoves, wine, game-fowl, spices, perfumes, rides, the theatre, entertainments, all these they want, they need, and whatever can be suggested more than these, they crave also, as if it were the bread which should keep them from starving; and if they miss any one, they represent themselves as the most wronged and most wretched persons on earth. One must have been born and bred with them to know how to prepare a meal for their learned stomach. Meantime, they never bestir themselves to serve another person; not they ! they have a great deal more to do for themselves than they can possibly perform; nor do they once perceive the cruel joke of their lives, but the more odious they grow, the sharper is the tone of their complaining and craving. Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants and to serve them one's self, so as to have somewhat left to give, instead of being always prompt to grab? It is more elegant to answer one's own needs, than to be richly served ; inelegant perhaps it may look to-day, and to a few, but it is an elegance for ever and to all.
I do not wish to be absurd and pedantic in reform. I do not wish to push my criticism on the state of things around me to that extravagant mark, that shall compel me to suicide, or to an absolute isolation from the advantages of civil society. If we suddenly plant our foot, and say,- I will neither eat nor drink, nor wear nor touch any food or fabric which I do not know to be innocent, or deal with any person whose whole manner of life is not clear and rational, we shall stand still. Whose is so ? Not mine; not thine; not his. But I think we must clear ourselves each one by the interrogation, whether we have earned our bread to-day by the hearty contribution of our energies to the common benefit ? and we must not cease to tend to the correction of these flagrant wrongs by laying one stone aright every day.
But the idea which now begins to agitate society, has a wider scope than our daily employments, our households, and the institutions of property. We are to revise the whole of our social structure, the state, the school, religion, marriage, trade, science, and explore their foundations in our own nature; we are to see that the world not only fitted the former men, but fits us, and to clear ourselves of every usage which has not its roots in our own mind. What is a man born for but to be a Reformer, a Re-maker of what man has made ; a renouncer of lies, a restorer of truth and good; imitating that great Nature which embosoms us all, and which sleeps no moment on an old past, but every hour repairs herself, yielding us every morning a new day, and with every