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the characters are drawn with fine discrimination, but in both, the crowning virtue of the dead was their obedience and self-subjugation to the law of duty.* In both the lesson taught is, that he who toils along the upward path of painful right-doing
“Shall find the toppling crags of Duty scaled
Are close upon the shining table-lands
To which our God Himself is moon and sun.” And may we not sum up the substance of Mr. Tennyson's personal confessions in “In Memoriam" by saying, that they are the account of the growth, through sorrow, of the firmer mind which counts it crime
“To mourn for any overmuch ;" which “turns its burden into gain,” and for which those truths which never can be proved, and which were lost in the first wild shock of grief, are regained by “faith that comes of self-control.”
We now turn to a consideration of the works of Mr. Browning, while we still stand at the same point of view. As we started with the assumption that Mr. Tennyson has a strong feeling for the dignity and efficiency of Law, let us assume, for the present, that Mr. Browning has a strong feeling for the nobility of passions and enthusiasms, and a comparatively feeble feeling for Law and its results.
As a consequence of this, (if the assumption be valid,) we should expect that his view of external nature would be remarkably different from that of Mr. Tennyson. And so it is. It is not the order and regularity of the processes of the natural world which impress the imagination of Mr. Browning, but the streaming forth of power and will and love in all the face of nature. The stale and unprofitable charge of “Pantheism” has been made against the poems of Mr. Tennyson, and recently against those of Mr. Browning. I shall not lose a moment by making a barren reply to a barren accusation. But if Mr. Tennyson's thinking had any tendency in the direction called “Pantheistic,” it would be to identify God with the order and wisdom of the universe; if Mr. Browning's thinking had such a tendency, it would be to identify Him with the passion (if we may so speak) of nature.
* I exhort the reader to compare the fine poem of Mr. W. Bell Scott, of which the Duke of Wellington is the subject. It is not an éloge, but a criticism.
The earth lies dormant all the winter,
.“ But spring-wind, like a dancing psaltress, passes
Over its breast, to waken it; rare verdure
Their loves in wood and plain—and God renews
Yet Mr. Browning is, perhaps more than any modern poet, the reverse of what is called a “Pantheist”-a word for which nobody seems to know a meaning. He recognises everywhere in God the elements of personality, in the only sense in which that term can be applied to God; he recognises everywhere God's will and consciousness and character. A law of nature means nothing to Mr. Browning if it does not mean the immanence of power and will and love. His own feeling with regard to the relation of God to His universe is not identical with that of the nations of the East, where God is so near
"He glows above With scarce an intervention, presses close
And palpitatingly, His soul o'er ours.” Mr. Browning's own feeling is more complex than what is expressed in this passage, which he has put into the mouth of the noblest of the persons in his dramas—the Moorish commander, Luria ; but he can pass with perfect sympathy into this state of feeling, and his higher trances and mountings of the mind closely resemble it. The world is not moved by blind forces apart from an intelligent will; where
* Paracelsus, Works, 3rd ed. vol. iii. pp. 144, 145
ever force is present there is the will of God, and there, too, is the love of God. To this effect argues the apostle John in “A Death in the Desert," with the deep prevision of a dying man anticipating the doubts and questionings of modern days. And in the third of those remarkable poems which form the epilogue of the “Dramatis Personæ," the whole world rises in the imagination of the speaker into one vast spiritual temple, in which voices of singers and the swell of trumpets and the cries of the priests are heard going up to God no less truly than in the old Jewish worship, while the face of Christ, full of divine will and love, becomes apparent, as that of which all nature is a shadow and a type.
Mr. Browning, like Mr. Tennyson, is a believer in the doctrine of progress, though it enters comparatively in a slight degree into his poems. The important points, however, to observe are—first, that while Mr. Tennyson considers the chief instruments of human progress to be a vast increase of knowledge and of political organization, Mr. Browning makes that progress dependent on the production of higher passions and aspirations-hopes and joys and sorrows; and secondly, that while Mr. Tennyson finds the evidence of the truth of the doctrine of progress in the universal presence of law, Mr. Browning obtains his assurance of its truth from the anticipations, types, and symbols of a higher greatness in store for man, which even now reside in his naturehis nature, which is ever unsatisfied, ever yearning upward in thought, feeling, and endeavour.
“In man's self arise
-Paracelsus, p. 148.
But Mr. Browning thinks much less of the future of the human race and of a terrestrial golden age, than of the life and destiny of the individual, and of the heaven that each may attain; and it is in his doctrine of the growth of the individual, and its most appropriate means, that we find the peculiar part of Mr. Browning's philosophy. We have seen that in Mr. Tennyson's ideal of manhood, obedience to the law of conscience, absolute submission to the dictates of duty, blamelessness, (“wearing the white flower of a blameless life,") self-reverence, self-knowledge, selfcontrol, these are the main elements of character and action. And the chief instruments in the development of the individual, according to this view, are those periods or occasions of life-protracted, it may be, through long years of patient endurance, or laborious toil, or it may be coming in the sudden crises of events, which put the soul upon its trialthose occasions of life, whatever they are, which afford opportunities to conscience of laying its mandate on the heart, opportunities of subduing the pas