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The treatment of nature in the works of George Meredith and Thomas Hardy McGuire, Stella V. 1920

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The Treatment of Nature in the works of George Meredit h an d Thoma s Hard y •^(jt isU**S^A-J lllo. P L A N I . In t roduc t ion The main c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the n ine teen th Century and t h e i r inf luence upon Hardy and Lleredith. I I . Theme (a) Nature used as d e s c r i p t i o n , (h) Nature in connection with^fce. philosophy of the two men. I I I . Conclusion A general summary of the c h r . r e c t e r i s t i c s of Meredith and of Hardy, showing t h e i r chief p o i n t s of divergence and of s i m i l a r i t y . THE NINETEENT H CENTUR Y George Meredith was born in 1828 and Thomas Hardy in 1840 , dates which proclaim them at once as members of the group known as "nineteenth century writers". Hence it is obvious, that in order to obtain anything approaching a comprehensive appreciation of their places in English Literature, a general survey of the main tendencies which marked their period is necessary. Th e first duty of the introduction is to give briefly the chief trends of thought of their time# as well as to indicate to what extent these men re-acted to them, while the major portion of this study will endeavor to show in what way the 2 contracting personalities of the two led them to opposite viewpoints, and to widely contrasting interpretations of the new theories which were formulating around them as they wrote. The shortness of the space of time which has elapsed since the appearance of the literature of the nineteenth century makes it difficult t o view such productions in anything like a firm or a correct perspective. The tendencies which arose and developed during that time are still in existence in the writings of the present day, so that it is impossible tib state, as yet, whether some of those developments have reached their culminating point or whether - 2 -some of then have begun to decline. \/hat i s ce r t a in , however, ia that the novel became the dominant form during the l a t t e r half of the century to a far greater extent than at any previous period in i t s h is tory . Until the eighteenth century the form had hardly at tained admission except on sufferance, but in the early nineteenth century with the writ ings of Scott , i t acquired recognized influence and pos i t ion . From then on i t s development was steady, and i t s popularity increased to such an extent that during the l a t e r years i t was the most universally favored form. To-day every aspirant to l e t t e r s attempts a novel, the professional men of l e t t e r s make the i r incomes from these novels, and every reader turns to novels for h is "something to do£ because the modern man d i s t inc t ly prefers reading prose to reading verse. All that i s necessary to conneot Hardy and Meredith with th is charac te r i s t ic of the i r time i s to count the l i s t of the novels they have wr i t t en . The former gave us sixteen prose Volumes in contrast to six in verse, while the l a t t e r also wrote sixteen novels and eight col lect ions of verse. Further-more both were corsMftmavh masters of the form as "The ^oodlanders", and "Rh*da Fleming" adequately prove. The outstanding influence of the period - that of ^oa Jaoques Rousseau, was not only at work upon nineteenth century wr i te r s , but i t pe r s i s t s to a tremendous degree even to-day. In so far as i t i s possible to point to any one wri ter as the definite beginner of a l i t e r a r y movement, i t i s possible to point to Rousseau as the man who awakened into oonsclousnesa a rea l - 3 -tas te for nature. As the describer of the beauties of nature , as the depioter of the effeots of nature on the feelings as well as the effects of the feelings upon the aspect of nature , he points the way for scores of wri ters in a l l countr ies . He showed the reading public the re la t ionship between nature and 4helr dreams; he gave tkesa the i d e a l i s t i c side of nature-communion and he psotrayed the ecstasy of love in a beautiful natural s e t t i ng . After the publication of "IA Ilouvolle Ilaloise" in 1756 every one wanted to love l ike St. Preux and J u l i e . iSvery one wished to be emotional, to dream in the f i e ld s , to malce the s p i r i t s na tu ra l . The cry of the succeeding period was •TJack to HatureJ" Nature became the fashionable affectation of the moment, but the underlying idea pers is ted and Rousseau may be said to have shaped the thoughts of the centuraj which followed him. His principal works not only called forC4*iw successions of imitations but the whole world was imbued with h is ideas fpr they continue to be renewed and recapitulated from time to time in modern writ ings. Before Rousseau only a few poets had perceived nature , after him none dared ignore her. ifrery one prided himself upon loving her and she found many sinoere adorers, who would perhaps have never perceived her i f they had not l is tened to Jean Jacques Rousseau. The at tent ive and sympathetio a t t i tude to "V^rg ^tanffijjfef^in his works has penetrated very deeply into the consciousness of the generations which hare followed him. - 4 -English l i t e r a t u r e shows clearly the manner in which th i s impetus came at a period when the minds of the people were ready to respond to the new i n t e r e s t . During the period from Waller to Pope the general feel ing in our l i t e r a t u r e toward nature had "been one of indifference. The whole emphasis was laid upon man and his social re la t ions and the facts of nature were l i t t l e known for when nature references were made, i t was done in imitat ive and conventional terms. Gradually however, a rea l cur ios i ty and in te res t in nature began to make i t s e l f manifest, and the l i t e r a r y history of the eighteenth century c lear ly shows steadi ly increasing scope in nature treatment. This new feel ing, as exemplified in the early nineteenth century poets , especially Wordsworth, i s marked by full and f i rs t -hand observation, by sincere delight and by a strong preference for the wilder forms of na ture . At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the c lass ica l feeling had predominated; by the beginning of the nineteenth a great reversion of feel ing had taken place. Whether i t was expressed in p ic tu res , in gardens, in journeys, in ta les or in poems the new s p i r i t was always at work, ca l l ing a t tent ion to the world of nature and commanding pre-occupation with her power and her lovel iness . William Wordsworth ushered in the new era and although every writer after him worked out his own treatment of th is subject along self-determined l i n e s , Wordsworth, as a single -5-example, "best typifies the variety and complexity of the interest in nature which marked the whole of the nineteenth century. Again we are brought face to face with the close relationship existing between Hardy and I.feredith and their timOj for it is this very pre-occupation with nature v/hich transfuses all their writingSe lik e Rousseau we find, particularly in Meredith, a "beautiful natural setting for idyllic love scenes and like Wordsworth and all the school which followed him, we find highly individual interpretation of nature and her significance in life, permeating all their mature productions. In the numerous bits of landscape description v/hich abound in the works of these two authors, recognition of the connection between nature and man is always manifest whether such connection be sympathetic or not. Th e dynamic relationships between scene and character are always made to gain from each other through inter-action. It was typical of the century that knowledge of nature was no longer confined to her wild and lovely aspects. Th e conventional parks and gardens of the classical writers had given place to rugged mountains, wild oceans and torrents, and to mysterious haunting night scenes. In this special aspect of nature treatment Hardy and Ueredith again reflect the attitude of the time. Bot h are fond of depicting 8terms, night scenes, and while Meredith has beautiful descriptions of Alpine landscapes, even their \vild beauty is equalled by the - 6 -l cve ly heaths and moors which are omnipresent . in Hardy's be s t books. This s ince re i n t e r e s t in na tu re so t y p i c a l of t h e i r age r e s u l t s in both cases in master ly manipulat ion of the sub jec t , no t only do they a t t a i n pure d e s c r i p t i v e e f f e c t s but they are able to embody a c e r t a i n philospphy in na ture and to show her deepest s ign i f i cance in connection with man. The inmost v i t a l b e l i e f s of -these men are i n e x t r i c a b l y woven around her and they have w r i t t e n whole chapte rs drenched wi th f e e l i n g for n a t u r a l s e t t i n g . For example the dramatic scene of the d ice- throwing in Hardy's "Return of the Nat ive" i s heightened and s t rengthened tenfold by i t s pe r fec t fusion wi th the nature background - indeed the all—important game i t s e l f comes to depend on the n a t u r a l l i g h t afforded by t i ny i n s e c t s . From Mered i th ' s "Richard ^several™ .comes the expos i t ion in the storm scene of how a n elemental cataclysm can a f fec t the dramatic s i t u a t i o n and develop*a completely new f e e l i n g in the hero . Of no l e s s importance than the preoccupat ion in Nature and the steady development of i t s t rea tment in l r t e ra tu re , was the marked and widespread i n t e r e s t i n n a t u r a l sc ience . This c u r i o s i t y concerning the phys ica l f ac t s of l i f e was s$ f a r -reaching t h a t i t a f fec ted every branch of l i f e to a g r e a t e r or l e s s e r degree , and n a t u r a l l y the realm of l i t e r a t u r e did not escape the impact any more than did the other departments of human a c t i v i t y . Dowden speaks of t h i s r e s u l t in h i s - 7 -"Studies in Literature". He says:-"To ascertain and communicate facts i s the object of science; to quicken our l i f e into a higher consciousness through the feelings i s the function of a r t . But though knowing and feeling are not ident ical and a fact expressed in terms of feeling affects us as other than the same fact expressed in terms of knowing, yet our emotions r e s t on and are controlled by our knowledge. Vrtiatever modifies our in t e l l ec tua l conceptions powerfully, in due time affects our art powerfully"# So i t i s but natural that the influence of the sc ien t i f ic trend of thought can be traoed everywhere in the writing of the century. „ Charles Darwin who lived from 1809 to 1882 gave up his l i f e to pat ient and continuous work which has proven the most f ru i t fu l and inspir ing in the annals of modern science. In 1859 his epoch-making book "The Origin of the Speoies" appeared and his theory of evolution expressed therein rapidly gained acceptance to such an extent that he can be said in a large measure^to^have moulded modern ±kxjH3tgfc±x thought. Tennyson's poetry i s full of references to evolutionary bel iefs and George E l i o t ' s masterly studies in environment are the resul t of the same tendencies. in the dramatic f i e ld , Ibsen applied the theory of heredity to his problem plays with powerful resu l t s and in the productions which are classed as - 8 -sc ien t i f ic smdcs novels, H.9s Wells and Jules Verne held up a mirror to the sc ien t i f ic mania of the age. George Meredith's frank acceptance of the doctrine of Evolution was combined with his transcendantal view of nature and his i d e a l i s t i c Tkaisin. <»JLfi whole-hearted adoption of the new idea caused i t to become one of the main sources of his inspirat ion and one of the basic pr inciples upon whioh he based his thought. Emile Zola applied the sc ien t i f i c fad of the time di rec t ly to l i t e r a tu r e and developed defini te theories from i t . As he exerted considerable influence, a school of wri ters known as the n a t u r a l i s t s , grew up around him and resulted in a rea l influence on the thought of the century. This gave an additional impulse to i t s already strong sc ien t i f i c p r o c l i v i t i e s . The main tendency of t h i s school of naturalism was to attach the novel to studies of vice and crime executed with minute f ide l i ty and r ig id obedience to the so-called sc ien t i f ic p r inc ip les . This school relied^ to a great extent>on the now,popular theory of heredity. Zola gave his personal expression to the movement in his theory of the "Soman experimental". He ventured into the half-explored regions of sociology and physiology and improvized a se t of doctrines of his own, which had no inconsiderable influence despite a vast amount of adverse c r i t ic i sm. His experimental method was evolved from his consideration of ±±XK the science of l i f e as something depending on a single kind of invest igat ion. He believed that a novel is t could -9 -experimant upon a character and study i t s behaviour under any set of oiroumstanoeB to whioh he chose V,  subjeot i t , Just as a aoientiBt oould experiment in his laboratory. The duty of the novelist was to apply exaot soient i f io methods of procedure in hie studies of i n t e l l e c t and emotion, that i s to say, ho should use experiment and observation in place of the old-fashionod and non-scient i f ic expedient of re ly ing upon his imagination. This experiment was to bo the means whereby knowledge should be renewed and prolonged through the medium of l i t e r a t u r e . The novel? in Zola's hands, was to effect a glorious mission Iky beooming an experienoe which sought to se t forth facts and to formulate a law for them. H e "experimental novel" or prac t ica l attempt to demonstrate his theory, resul ted in a ser ies of studies of l i f e iSi the Seoond oilnpiro , typified in the family of "Rougon-Macquart". In th i s ser ies Sola pushed the theory of heredity to i t s extreme consequences. His thes i s , however, was not very carefully prepared, for not only did he f a i l to obey the lav.-s of sc ien t i f i c experiment but he did not even follow the laws of observation i t s e l f . He frequently la id himself open to the charge of contenting himself with superf ic ia l impressions, and Robert Yall ier , one of his o r i t i c s , says that he outrages under the name of his beloved soienoo, the«finseparable a l l i e s , the Good, the True and the Beautiful. notwithstanding the weakness of h is execution his method contained the garn of wholesome t ru th , and had £±a ^CI-IOWAM -10-"but recognized the fa l lac ies in his argument, the na tu r a l i s t i c school might not have gone to such excess. Zola was r ight in rea l iz ing tha t science could teach men the deep significance of a l l facts and would consequently "broaden the f ield of subjects ready-a*, the nove l i s t ' s hand. He was wrong, however, in declaring so f l a t ly that the old method of imagination must he eliminated and replaced by observation. The actual "experiment" or circumstances in which the characters are to perform must be in i t s e l f the direct product of th i s very quality of imagination. Coming when he did, Thomas Hardy f e l t the fu l l measure of th is t i da l wave of influence from France in the School of naturalism. Despite the frequent recurrence of his beset t ing s in , - the use of coincidence - he is ftne of the f inest examples in our l i t e r a tu r e of the logic of modern realism when applied by a f i r s t class sc ien t i f i c mind to the a r t of f i c t ion . Science has taught wri ters some invaluable t ruths which they can never afford to overlook in the i r works. F i r s t of a l l i t has brought to them the rea l iza t ion that a l l de ta i l s must be wrought with scrupulous care and nicety and i t has taught them the necessity for accurate and analytic vision in a l l forms of a r t . I t gives them the power to generalize from specific fac ts , and the importance of a firm basis of facts for the ideas promulgated in any work cannot be over-estimated. Thomas Hardy learned th i s lesson of sc i en t i f i c accuracy - 1 1 -with great thoroughness and turned i t to wonderful account. One of his most admirable qua l i t i e s i s his ab i l i t y to describe rea l and l iv ing r u s t i c s . The t e l l i ng factor behind this realism i s undoubtedly his sc ien t i f ic precision of recording impressions whioh resu l t s in faul t less reproduction of the ..est country d ia leo t . The general in te res t in science soon led to specialized studies of i t s different branches. These specialized studies a l l contributed the i r share of t ru ths to the increasing aocuracy of treatment accorded to f i c t ion . For example the specialized science of physiology taught the readers as well as the authors to value the beauty and dignity inherent in the human body. The d i reot r esu l t of th i s rea l iza t ion was a marked change in the type of characters v/hich gained popular i ty . The dandified heroes and the puny heroines of the early par t of the century rapidly gave place to strong and v i r i l e personages. George Meredith i s closely linked to this tendency as can be seen by his consistent pictures of courageous, sp i r i ted and vividly healthy heroines and his manly heroes. Robort icclea in "Rhode Fleming" i s a red-blcoded, robust youth who t r i e s to s e t t l e his own and o thers ' d i f f i cu l t i es by means of his two f i s t s . Witness also the delight of Vernon \7hitford in ""The Kgoisf in a brisk oross-countey walk, a morning swia. Action, strength and courage typify a l l Meredith's best characters . The epitome of th i s new and healthy s p i r i t whioh. -12-was gradually permeating all fiction is exemplified in a spirited and joyous account of a prize fight which is the first incident in the honeymoon described in "The Amazing Marriage". The specialized study of Psychology now "began to play such a large role in novels that i t s steady development has had the r e s u l t that to-day a psychological study i s the highest aim of a l l serious wri ters and such a work i s rated as the supreme measure of an author 's achievement. Both Hardy and Meredith attained a s t a r t l i n g proficiency in psychological s tud ies . In the "Return of the Native", liustacia i s a splendid depiction of a high—strung and imperious g i r l while "Jude the Obscure" furnishes an even more outstanding instance in the wonderfully in t r i ca t e and clever picture of the fu t i l e Sue Bridehead. Meredith's remarkable power of insight into mental processes has given us Sir Willoughby, the unforgettable egoist , and i t has also given us the gloriously rea l boys in "The Egoist" and in "Richard Several". Meredith's weakness lay in his response to the in te res t in psychology which characterized his time. He some times put over-emphasis on the psychological viewpoint and in so doing he was misled-wi^fe the over-cleverness which robbed his thought both of simplicity and naturalness . Many of his pages are so acute and super-subtle that they become -13-perverse and point less to the "bewildered reader and cause him to berate the novel is t as unreadable. These then, are the most outstanding charac te r i s t i c s whioh found expression in the l i t e r a t u r e of the nineteenth aentury. F i r s t and foremost c\me the universal and elaborate expression of in te res t in nature - the d i r ec t resu l t of Rousseau's influenoe and the matured inpetus which Wordsworth had caught up and given to English l i t e r a t u r e of the eighteenth century. The nineteenth carried on the development of varied nature treatment. Meredith and Hardy were closely conneoted with th i s oharao te r i s t i c , in f ao^as wil l be shown^heir main preocoupation i s with nature in her most elaborate and subtle aspects . Seoond came f^c& universal a t tent ion to soienoe in a l l i t s branohes. The principles of sc i en t i f i c accuracy of treatment as well as the theories of evolution, heredity, psychology ana physiology, were a l l found to have d i rec t influenoe upon the works of the two novelis ts under consideration. To what extent these were applied, and in what manner they were interpreted in re la t ion to the more outstanding absorption in nature by the two men wi l l be the oonoern of the following diapters. In both cases the subjeot divides into two broad divis ions . Nature is treated in the obvious manner by both authors in a great many instances. That i s to say, Hardy and Meredith offer frequenljtexamples of the use of nature as simple description and in these oases there i s nothing deeper in the i r -14-purpose than the attainment of an artistic effect or the delineation of the necessary setting. On the other hand, both writers have evolved their philosophy into the frame-work of nature to suc h an extent that the most casual of readers is aware of an underlying significance in the nature passages. It is my intention to examine the work of each man under these two divisions, and in so doing, to obtain a working knowledge of the characteristic methods and beliefs of the two men. - 1 5 -SdOKGfl IliRdDITH'S USJi OF UATUEJi AS DdSCRIPTlOH I l l u s t r a t i o n s of M e r e d i t h ' s power of d e s c r i p t i o n a r e to be found i n a l m o s t every n o v e l or poem t h a t he has w r i t t e n . ITature i s used as an i n t r o d u c t o r y p a s s a g e , n a t u r e s c e n e s r e c u r a g a i n and a g a i n to i l l u s t r a t e t he n a r r a t i v e s and b a l l a d s , and f r e q u e n t l y h i s poems in t h e i r e n t i r e t y a r e no more than s imple d e s c r i p t i o n s of e a r t h and sky . The f i n a l i m p r e s s i o n of beau ty and power which i s d e r i v e d from such p a s s a g e s i s p roduced by a s f l i r t s a t t a a combina t ion of t h r e e i m p o r t a n t q u a l i t i e s i n t h e w r i t e r . The f i r s t g i f t which c o n t r i b u t e s to t h e i n t i m a t e e f f e c t i v e n e s s of h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s i s h i s h a b i t of f i r s t - h a n d o b s e r v a t i o n of t h e s cenes he d e s c r i b e s ; t h e second i s t he a d m i r a b l e a c c u r a c y w i t h which he i s a b l e to r e c o r d h i s i m p r e s s i o n s and convey them t o h i s r e a d e r s , and h i s t h i r d endowment i s h i s a b i l i t y t o c a t c h t h e t r u e s p i r i t l u r k i n g i n t h e scene and t h e h o u r . These t h r e e r e s u l t i n an un ique s e n s i t i v e n e s s wh ich g i v e s him a keen sense of s y n p a t h e t i c in te r -communion w i t h n a t u r e . The y o u t h f u l poems which were p u b l i s h e d i n 1851 were a l r e a d y c h a r a c t e r i z e d by t h e f i r s t - m e n t i o n e d q u a l i t y of c l o s e o b s e r v a t i o n of n a t u r e i n a l l h e r moods. .Meredith was born i n Haippshire and the o h r a c t e r i s t i c a s p e c t s of t he l a n d s c a p e of t h a t s e c t i o n were very dea r t o him, for t h e s c e n e s of a l l h i s j i i g l i s h poems and n o v e l s a r e l a i d i n t h a t p a r t of t h e c o u n t r y . The P a s t o r a l s i n t h i s e a r l y volume a r e l i t t l e more t h a n c l e v e r n a t u r e s t u d i e s o f the s o u t h of jSnglend, w h i l e the f o l l o w i n g P a s sage showed t h a t a new n a t u r e p o e t of England was a t hand . -16-""Heavily weighs the hot season, and drowzes the darkening foliage, Drooping with languor, the white cloud floats, but sails not, for windless The blue heaven tents it; no lark siging up in its fleecy white valleys, Up in its fairy white valleys, aria® feathere d with minstrels, melodious With the invisible jo y that racxka wakes dawn o'er the green fields of England". This habit of ylose attention to salient features enables the poet to give an exact impression of a Southern night as clearly as he portrays the languid ±inglish summer afternoon. I n the ballad, "•The Young Princess", a beautiful Southern midnight is described in the clozing stanzas. Th e young squire is v/aiting under the orange-boughs in the garden while his lord has gone within to seek and claim the Princess. Hi s expectancy is exalted by the verses which portray the firesh luxuriance of the balmy night. ,TThe soft night wind went laden to death With smell of the orange in flower, The light leaves prattled to neighbor ears; The bird of passion sang over his tears; The night named hour by hour. Sang loud, sang low the rapturous bird, 'Till the yellow hour was nigh, Behind the folds of a darker cloud: He chuckled he sobbed alowE aloud-The voice between earth and sky.n> The opening passage in "Yittoria" proves that Meredith can use his powers of observation as effectively in prose as he can in verse. Th e period of his sojourn In Italy as a war correspondent enabled him to give his readers the following real picture of the -17 -I t a l i a n Alps. "From Monte Hotterone you survey the Lombard p l a i n . I t i s a towering dome of green among a hundred p innac les xn± of grey and r u s t - r e d crags With sunr i se come the m i s t s . The vas t brown l e v e l i s seen narrowing i n ; the Ticino and the Sesia wa te r s , n e a r e s t , quiver on the a i r » l i k e s leepy l a k e s ; the p l a i n i s engulfed up to the high r i dges of the d i s t a n t southern mountain range, which l i e s t r e t c h e d to a f a i n t c loud - l i ke l i n e , in shape l i k e a s o l i t a r y monster of old seas c ross ing the Deluge. Long arms of vapor s t r e t c h across the u r n - l i k e v a l l e y s , and gradual ly th ickening and swel l ing upward, enwrap the scored bodies of the ashen-faced peaks and the pas tu res of the green mountain, t i l l the he ights become i s l ands over a forgot ten e a r t h . Be l l s of herds down the hidden run of sweet g r a s s e s , and a continuous leap ing of i t s r i v u l e t s , give the Motterone a voice of youth *e* t ha t s t e r n company of T i tan-heads , for whom the hawk and vu l t u r e c ry . The storm has beaten a t them u n t i l they have got the aspec t of the storm. They take color from sun l igh t and are joy less in co lor as in s h a d e . , When the lower world i s under pushing steam they wear the look of the r evo l t ed sons of Time, f a s t chained before \exMJut-Heaven in an i ron -pias-e. Lay a t l a s t b r ings vigorous f i r e ; arrows of l i g h t p i e rce the mis t -wrea ths , the dancing d r a p e r i e s , jbhB f loors of vapours, and the mountain of p i l e d pasturage i s seen with i t s foot on the shore of Lago Maggiore. Down an extreme gulf the f u l l Sunl ight , as i f da r t ing on a jewel in the deeps, se izes the b lue --18-green lake with its isles. Th e villages along the darkly-wooded borders of the lake show white as clustered swans; here and there a tented boat is visible, shooting from terraces of vines, ftr hanging on its shadow........You behold a burnished realm of mountain and plain beneath the royal sun of Italy. I n the foreground it shines hard as the lines of an irradiated Cellini shield. Farthe r away, over middle ranges that are soft and clear, it melts, confusing the waters with hot rays and the forests with darkness, to where wavering in and out of view like flying wings, and shadowed like wings of archangels with rose and with orange and with violet, silver - white Alps are seen. Yo u might take them for mystical streaming torches on the border-ground between vision and fancy. The y lean as in a great flight forward, upon Lombardy. The curtain of an early autum\nal morning is everywhere lifted around the Motterone, save for one mil&y stri p of cloud that lies lizard-like across the throat of the Monte Boscero facing it,r. The second characteristic which marks the nature descriptions of Meredith, is his ability to transcribe his impressions with great accuracy and pictorial power. I n this connection the first • passage which occurs to one's mind is found in "'Th e Eight of Frost in May" . Her e we are given a beautiful and accurate impression of two nightingales answering each other in the depths of the woods. Critics may point to imperfeotlons in style and clearness, but these have no power to diminish the vividness and insistence of the impression. Indee d the passage seems to gain in effectiveness from -19 -i t s very imperfect ions* George Macauley Trevelyan says of t h i s passage : - "Milton, Arnold, She l l ey , Keats a l l p r a i s e the n i g h t i n g a l e ' s song; Mr. Meredith gives i t back to our memory. His words s t r i k e in our bra in and body the very chords which l a s t v ib r a t ed when l a s t we l i s t e n e d to the b i r d " "In t h i s S h r i l l hush of qu ie tude , The ear conceived a sever ing c ry , Almost i t l e t the sound e lude , When chuckles t h r e e , a warble shy, From haze l s of the garden came, Nearby the crirasom-windov/ed form They l a i d the t rance on brea th and frame., A prelude of the pass ion charm Then soon was heard, not sooner heard Then answered, doubled, t r e b l e d , more, Voice of an Eden in the b i rd Renewing with h i s pipe of four The sob: a t roubled Jden, r i oh In throb of h e a r t , unnumbered t h r o a t s Flung upward a t a f oun t a in ' s p i t c h The fervor of the four lcng notes That\on the f o u n t a i n ' s pool subs ides , Exult and r u f f l e and upspr ing : Endless the c ro s s ing m u l t i p l i e d Of s i l v e r and of golden s t r i n g . There chimed a bubbled underbrew With witch-wild spray of vocal dew". x I t i s not alone in p i c t u r i n g the beauty of a b i r d ' s song tha t Meredi th ' s accuracy serves him in such good s t ead . A more powerful and sus ta ined de sc r i p t i ya passage i s found in "The S p i r i t of J a r t h in Autumn" wherein the desc r ip t ion of the south-west wind r i s i n g a f t e r sunset conveys to the reader the a c t u a l experiences of one who observes na ture in her s tormier moods. The s k i l f u l change of metre combines with the accura te ly se lec ted d e t a i l s to - 2 0 -to give an ex t raord ina ry render ing of wind in a fo r e s t during a n igh t of "pagan g l e e " . "Not long the s i l e n c e followed: The voice t h a t i s s u e s from thy b r e a s t , 0 g lo r ious south-west H o n g the gloom-horizon hollowed. Warning the va l l eys with a mellow roa r Through f lapping wings; Then sharp the woodland bore A shudder a n d a n o i s e of hands: A thousand onoruo from some far va le In ambush sounding on the g a l e . Forth from the cloven sky came bands frf r e v e l - g a t h e r i n g s p i r i t s ; t rooping down, Some rode the t r e e - t o p s : some on torn c l o u d - s t r i p s Burst screaming through the l i g h t e d town: And soudding seawards, some J e U on b i g s h i p s : Or mounting ttte sea-horsea bJSBr Br ight foam-fla kes on the black review Of heaving h u l l s and burying beaks . S t i l l on the fu r thes t l i n e , with out-puffed oheoks fTwixt dark and u t t e r dark the g r e a t wind blew Prom heaven t h a t d i s e n c h a n t i t e harmony To jo in e a r t h ' s l augh te r in the midnight b l i n d : Booming a d i s t a n t chorus to the shr ieks Prec luding him: then h e . His mantle s treaming thunderingly Irehind, Across the yellow realm of s t i f f ened day, Shot through the v/codland a l l ey s s igna l s t h r e e , And with the pressure of a s e a , Plunged broad upon the vale t h a t under lay" . Turning to the prose for examples of accuracy in descr ip t ion the "Farewell to an Old Home/' in"Bhe Amazing I la r r iage" at once occurs to any one acquainted vdth t h a t s e r i e s of v i v i d mountain p i c t u r e s . The coming of dawn i s depicted in a few f a u l t l o e s s e n t e n c e s : -"Meanwhile the high wind had sunk; the moon after pushing up her withered half to the zenith, was climbing the dusky edge, -21-revealed fitfully; threads and wisps,of thin vapor travelled along a falling gale, and branched from the dame of the sky in migratory "broken lines, like wild "birds shifting the order of flight, north and east, where ths dawn sat in a web, but as yet had done no more than shoot up a glow along the central heavens, in amid the waves of deepened cloud: a mirror for night to see her dark self in her own hue"". Further along in the same chapter an equally clear cut picture of noon in the mountains, serves to add weight to the contention, that the novelistTs love of nature and his habit of careful study of her every aspect has resulted in a remarkable ability in tabulating his impressions correctly as well as artistically. Th e sun's triumph over the morning mists is described as follows: "The phantom ring of mist enclose d for miles the invariable low-sweeping dark spruce-fir Hea r midday the haunted circle widened, rocks were loosely folded in it, and heads of trees whose round intervolving roots grasped the yellow roadside soil; the mists shook like a curtain and partly opened and displayed a tapestry landscape, roughly worked, of woolen crag and castle and suggested glen, threaded waters, very prominent foreground, autumn flowers an banks}a predominant atmospheric greyness. Th e sun threw a shaft, lquid instead of burning, as we see his beams beneath a wave* and then the mists narrowed again, boiled up the valleys and streams above the mountain, curled and flew and were Python coils pierced by brighter arrows of the sun. : / A spot i f blue signalled his victory above". A final example of this second t r a i t in Meredith's descriptions i s to be found in the paragraph about a mountain torrent seen by Dacier: "Waters of past rain-clcuds poured down the mountain sides l ike veins of metal, here and there flinging off a shower on the busy descent; only dubiously s. animate in the lack lus t re of the huge bulk pi led against a yellow Kast that wafted f lee t s of pinky cloudlets overhead. He mounted 11 his path to a level with invi t ing grass-mounds, where water c i rc led , running from scoops and cups to curves and brook-streams, and in his fancy, ca l l ing to him to hear them. Heights to r ight and to l e f t , and between them, a lo f t , a sky the rosy wheelcourse of the chariot of morn, and below, a mong the knol ls , choice of sheltered nooks, where waters whispered of secrecy to sat isfy Diana herself". This accuracy is closely connected ;.:ith the third point which. concerns the present chapter, for i t enables Meredith to embody his impressions In adequate descr ipt ions. The third charac te r i s t i c , as has been said, i s found in the fact that i t i s always his inspirat ion to catch the exact s p i r i t that lurks in the place and in the hour. This gives a rare and haunting beaxity to his nature-p ic tures . The lovely poem "love in a Yalley" is typical of th i s charac te r i s t i c . I t i s a song of youth and joy - a picture of a young g i r l seen against the background of the four seasons. The -83-liquid lilting form embodies the joyous spirit of the piece and effect of thw whole is consistently heightened "by frequent nature metaphors and symbols, and the vivid descriptions in which the poem abounds are characteristic of the beat of his work. The moods of the lover vary as his fortunes ?/aver or prosper and in every case he connects h i s loved one with some aspect of na tu re which mi r ro r s h i s own mood. Every p i c t u r e f i t s p e r f e c t l y i n - t o the s p i r i t of the p i e c e . F i r s t of a l l , as he i s tormented by the g i r l ' s aloofness he th inks t h a t : "Hear t l ess she i s as the shadow in the meadows Flying to the h i l l s on a blue and breezy noon!' Despite the s t rong appeal which her l o v e l i n e s s makes t o him he cannot p i e rce her ind i f fe rence to h i s admirat ion and so he i s maite to r e f l e c t : "Lovely are the curves of the white owl sweeping, Waving in the dusk, l i t by one la rge s t a r Xo7$e on the f i r -b r anch h i s r a t t l e note unvaried " Brooding o ' e r the gloom spins the brown e v e - j a r , Darker grows the v a l l e y , more and more f o r g e t t i n g " . The cold beauty of the summer dawn reminds him a t once of the una t t a inab le maiden. He gives u t t e rance to S i s thoughts in a famous pas sage : -"Happy happy time when the white star hovers low over dim fields fresh with blooming dew Hear the face of dawn that draws athwart the darkness, Threading it with color like yewberries the yew. Thicker crowd the shades as the grave east deepens Glowing with crimson a long cloud swells. Maiden still the morning is and strange she is and secret* Strange her eyes; her cheeks are cold as cold sea shells". The voice of the lark only serves to suggest to the young man a new thought of his loved one, and the delight he experiences in the beauty -24-of the b i r d ' s note i s in tens i f ied by the kinship he senses in i t to the clear laughter of the maiden. "Mother of the dews, dark eye-lashed twi l ight , Low-lidded twil ight o 'er the va l l ey ' s brim Rounding on thy breast sings the dew-delighted skylark, Clear as though the dew drops had their voice in him. Hidden where the rose-flush drinks the ra j less planet Fountain-full he pours the spraying fountain showers. Let me hear her laughter, I would have her ever Cool as dew in twi l ight , the lark above the flowers". The moods of the speaker are typified in a subtler fashion by the plan of the poem. The four seasons of the year are described in the course of the piece. The beginning of the young man's love i s in the spring, i t deepens and grows more intense throughout the summer and the harvest season; f inal ly in the pure white se t t ing of winter the young g i r l ' s love i s won, v/hile the joy and hope of the accepted lover i s expressed in the return of spring. The f i r s t spring i s pictured in the verse which describes the young g i r l s searching for wild flowers. "All the g i r l s are out with the i r baskets for the primrose". The climax of midsummer pulses through the wonderful "yellow verse" : -"Yellow with bird foo t - t re fo i l are the grass glades Yellow with cinquefoil of the dev; - gray leaf; Yellow with stone crop; the moss-mounds are yellow; Blue-necked the wheat sways, yellowing to the sheaf. Green-yellow bursts from the copse the laughing yaffle; Sharp as a sickle i s the edge of shade and shine; Earth in her heart laughs looking a t the heavens^ Thinking of the harvest: I look and think you mine". The next emotional c r i s i s comes in mid-winter: "Large and smoky-red the sun's cold disk drops Clipped by naked h i l l s on violet-sfcaded snow] " < -25-I t i s in this season that the g i r l yields her hea r t ' s secret to her lover and as is f i t t i n g , the l a s t stanzas sound the note of new joy mirrored in the return of spr ing:-"Swift with the to-morrow green-winged spring-Sing from the south-west, bring her hack the truants Nightingale and swallowJ song and dipping wing." Another example of the manner in which Meredith i s able to attune the nature background to a theme of love and youth in such a way as to make the se t t ing re-echo the very s p i r i t of the characters i s to be found in the inspired and idyl l ic dhapter called "A Diversion played on a ^enny whis t le" . ""Let us breathe the air of the enchanted is land. Golden rdeal l i e the meadows - golden run the streams, red and gold i s on f hard "the ^ine-sterns. The sun is coming down to earth and walks the er#L fields and waters. Swee t are the shy recesses of the woodland. The ray treads softly there. A  film athwart the pathway quivers many-hued against purple shade fragrant with the warm pines, deep moss-beds, feathery ferns. Th e little brown squirrel drops tail and leaps - the inmost bird is startled to a chance tuneless note; Fro m silence into silence things move For this is the bone of the enchantment. Her e secluded from vexed shores, the prince and princess of the island meet; here, like darkling nightingales they sit, and into eyes and ears and hands frmi pour endless ever-fresh treasures of their souls". The theme of joyous love is not, however, the single note to which Meredith is able to attune his nature backgrounds. -26-In another connection he has used the device of interweaving nature with the subject matter of a poem in such a manner as to obtain the moods of pathos and of humor. Th e poem deals with the death of a wandering juggler, by the Jinglish roadside. The old man is lying on a heath which fcverlooks a typical English south country lanscape. H e is resting in the arms of his faithful wife and watching the scene with which he is so familiar, he points out to her that: "Up goes the lark as if all were jolly J n He realizes pathetically that his death can make no impression upon the happy spring-time scen e before him and although his faith is unshaken, he cannot help but be puzzled and bewildered by such a reflection. "Yonder came the smells of the gorse so n u t t y , God-like and warm; itfs the prime of May, Be t t e r than mor ta r^-br ick and p u t t y , I s God's house on a blowing day. Lean me more up tA the mound; Now I fee l i t : a l l the old hea th-smel ls J AinT t i t s t range? There ' s the vrorld laughing as i f to conceal i t , But He's by u s , juggl ing the change"'. In h i s e a r l i e s t novel , a s l i g h t e r example of t h i s power occurs in the c lever suggest ion of enchantment which i s obtained by a shor t de sc r ip t ion of a magic sea . "And sonn the length of the sea was darkened with two high rocks and between them there was a narrow channel of the sea , roughened with moonlight. So they sped between the rocks , and came upon a purple sea , dark-blue overhead, wi th l a rge s t a r s -27-leaning to the waves. Ther e was a soft whispering near in the breath of the breezes that swung there, and many sails of charmed ships were seen in momentary gleams, flapping the mast idly far away. Warnja s new milk from the full udders were the waters of that sea.... lon g paths of starlight rippled into the distant gloom, and the reflection of the moon opposite was as a wide nuptial sheet of silver on the waters: islands, green and white, and with soft music floating from their foliage, sailed slowly to and fron. Meredith's ability to transmit the mood of his narrative to his readers through the medium o f apt nature touches never fails him. H e has a genius for catching the spirit which lurks beneath the outward manifestations of nature. I n his nature poems this trait often leads him to deserve the criticism of offending through subtle and difficult expressions, but after the difficulties of style are removed, the reader is amply repaid by the way in which the poet catches for him the mood of the monenx and helps him to see the ghost of the place. These three qualities of which examples have been given, have combined to give Meredith a keen sens e of sympathetic communion with inanimate nature. H e is a sincere and accurate nature lover, as we have seen, but his unique endowments enable him to do more than picture the woods and reproduce the song of the lark; he has attained an original and inspiring philosophy thai links man closely -28-to earth . I n th e Bonno t sequonc e "luodor n love " h o ha a glvo n voioe t o t h i s r e a l i s a t i o n I n a  descriptio n o f win d an d waves , whloh i s no t onl y unsurpasse d a a d e s c r i p t i o n bu t whlo h d o f l n l t o y points t o man' s oonneotio n wit h natur e i n a l l th e orlao s o f h i s l i f e . "Mark wher e th e press in g win d shoot s p e l l la-11 Ice, I t s skeleto n shado w o n th e broad-baoke d wave ! Here l a a  f i t t i n g spo t t o di g l ove ' s grave ; Here wher e th e ponderou s breaker s plung e an d s t r i k e , ind dar t the i r hiealn g tongues ) hig h u p th e sand : In hearin g o f th e ocean , an d i n s igh t Of thoa e ribbe d wlnd-streak a runnin g int o white" . Hature'a e f f e c t upo n th e Uve a o f tw o lovera , i s describe d i n "Sandra BellolJ." . Thi s passag e sum s u p th e thre e qual i t io a of c los e observation , o f aoourat e portraya l an d o f embodyin g th e s p i r i t -  an d th e resul t i s d e a r l y expresse d a t th e san e tim e -Meredith b e l i e v e s thwr e I s a n Inter-communio n betwee n natur e an d humanity, "So, now , th e s o f t summe r hour s x n ± flo w l ik e whit e dovo a from of f th e mountin g moon , an d th e lover s turne d t o go , a l l bein g s t i l l ; eve n th e nois e o f th e water s s t i l l t o thol r ears , a s l i f e that i s muffle d i n s l eep . The y sa w th e ceda r groy-odge d unde r the moon ; an d Night , tha t clun g l i k e a  ba t beneat h i t s anoien t ape n pa l s* . Th e borderin g swar d abou t th e f a l l s shon e s i l v e r y . I n I t s ahadow wa s a  swan . Thea e aoene e ar e bu t beokonin g hand a t o th e hearta o f lovera , wavin g the a o n t o tha t 2de n whic h the y claim : but whe n th e hou r ha a f l ed , the y kno w I t ; an d b y th e palpi tat in g l i g h t i n i t the y kno w tha t I t hold a th e bea t o f them. " -29-The whole of this sensitiveness to the influence of nature is summed up with rare insight and delicately-inspired descriptive power in a few lines from "Song in the Songless" "They have no song, the sedges dry, And still they sing, It is within my breast they sing As I pass by. Within my breast they touch a string, They wake a sigh, There is but sound of sedges dry To me they sing". In this manner it is possible to continue selecting passages from novel and verse which exemplify all these qualities, for everything that Meredith has done is touched to a greater or lesser degree by some or all of these phases. Th e beautiful lyric descriptions invariably serve as an artistic background against which the characters and events gain tenfold in force and in lovel iness . -30-THOMAS HARDY'S USE OF MATURE AS DESCRIPTION As is the case with Meredith, one of the most outstanding features of Hardy's novels i s his abundant use of nature descript ions. The s imilar i ty between the two men does not go much farther howarer. In the f i r s t place sustained descriptions are not found in Hardy's verse, while some of the most effective nature pic tures which Meredith has given us are to be found in his poetry. Of the two, Meredith had greater poetic power for Hardy does not seem to attempt long descriptions in verse. He often attacked the same subjects in his poems as he had t reated in his novels but in every case the prose treatment i s the more powerful. An example of th is i s found in the two treatments of Marty South's lament for Giles Winterbourne, they show clearly that prose was Hardy's most faci le instrument. For t h i s reason the examples given in the following pages are invariably taken from the prose and th i s const i tu tes f i r s t point of d i f ferent ia t ion from the section on Meredith's descr ipt ions. Meredith's charac ter i s t ics were summed up under three broad headings. Hardy can be treated in the same manner. In the f i r s t place the two men are alike in their gi f t of accuracy. In the second place Hardy's power of observation is equally as strong as that of his contemporary but i t has resul ted in a more pract ica l treaiment of nature. He is sc ien t i f i c in his prac t ica l knowledge of the facts of nature and he permeates his novels with th is wisdom. Meredith does not introduce th is element in L : . , - - . . . . - . ' . . . : - . . . . . 1 - 3 1 -any of h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s . The t h i r d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Hardy's na tu re s ec t ions i s h i s a b i l i t y to co-ord ina te h i s d e t a i l s in such a way as to give h i s r eader s one general impression. The while e f fec t of a paragraph can usua l ly be summed up in one word such as "beauty or gloom, i l e r e d i t h ' s de sc r i p t i ons catch a pre-dominant mood - Hardy's convey one d i s t i n c t aspect of a scene. The f i n a l di f ference between the two men i s found in the r e s u l t of these q u a l i t i e s upon t h e i r genera l b e l i e f s . Meredith a r r i v e s at a sHS3g±HS±Era: convic t ion hf  some sub t l e l i n k between na ture and man. Hardy has an equal ly s ince re regard for na ture and i s endowed wi th equal powers of obse rva t ion , but he reaches no such conclus ion. A sense of inter-cpmmunion i s e n t i r e l y lack ing and i t i s from t h i s po in t of d i f fe rence t ha t the widely d i f f e r e n t i a t e d ph i losophies of the two men develop^ One can admire the na tu re de sc r ip t i ons of Thomas Hardy for t h e i r own i n t r i n s i c e f fec t iveness but i t should be borne in mind tha t they are never detachable ornaments which embellish the novels and conta in no purpose beyond simple d e s c r i p t i o n ^ . For example the e labora te accounts of 3gdon Heath and the vales of Blackmoor and Froome are v i t a l p a r t s not only of the substance of t h e i r r e spec t ive novels but of the action i t s e l f . na ture i s n e i t h e r an a b s t r a c t i o n nor a scenic s e t t i n g but a vas t impressive organism, which i s deeply imbedded in the hea r t of the nove l s . When t h i s i s borne in mind, i t i s permiss ib le to examine some of the na tu re passages purely as desc r ip t ive a r t , for a man with Hardy's i n t e r e s t i n , knowledge of -32-and genius for th is type of wri t ing could not f a i l to make considerahle contribution to the purely descriptive passages of English l i t e r a t u r e . In a l l the Wessex novels there he displays a wonderful sensitiveness to natural toeauty and grandeur. F i r s t l e t us examine Hardy from the standpoint of the accuracy of his descr ipt ions. The early novel "Under the Greenwood Tree" takes the reader into close friendship with earth from the f i r s t page un t i l the l a s t . I t is divided into four par ts to correspond to the four seasons of the year so that a t the very outset the reader is made to feSl that se t t ing and description are to play no mean part in the story. The hook opens with a description of the sounds of out-of-doors which fa l l s under the heading of accuracy.^ "To dwellers in a wood almost every species,of t ree has i t s voice as well as i t s feature. At|tthe passing of the breeze the the wood f i r - t r e ea sob and moan no less d i s t inc t ly than they rock; the holly e l t whistles as i t ba t t l e s with i t se l f ; the ash hisses amidst i t s quiverings; the beech rus t l e s while i t s f l a t boughs r i se and f a l l . And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed thei r leaves, does not destroy i t s individual i ty" . Hardy has given many depictions of the coming of evening throughout his novels and a l l of them are true to r e a l i t y . XX111 An especially good example occurs in "Far from the Madding Crowd"' while the shearing supper was in progress and as the shearers sat and talked and grew merr-w o* +, 9<^U c ow merry a s t h Q {, , s i n Homer's heaven." i -  _ -33-"It was still the teaming tine of evening, though the night was stealthily making itself visible lew down upon the ground, the western lines of light taking the earth without alighting upon it to any extent, or illuminating the dead levels at aUt. The sun had crept round the tree as a last effort "before death and then began to sink, the shearer's lower parts "becoming steeped in an embrowning twilight, whilst their heads and shoulders were still enjoying day, touched with a yellow of self-sustained "brilliancy that seemed inherent rather than acquired. Th e sun went down in an ochreous mist. Bathsheba still remained enthroned inside the window, and occupied herself in knitting, from which she some—times looked up to view the fading scene outside. Th e slew twilight expanded and enveloped them completely "before the signs of moving were shown". An equally, truthful glimpse of the coming of night is ;©JAL portraye d in "Under the Greenwood Tree" - this time it is nightfall in thw woodland. "Saturday evenin g saw Dick journeying on foot to Yalbury Wood, Th e landscape was concave and at the going down of the sun everything suddenly assumed a uniform robe of shade. The evening advanced from sunset to dusk long before Dick's arrival and his progress during the latter portion of his walk though the trees was indicated by the flutter of terrified birds that had been roosting over the path. • 3 4-been formed on the h i l l s during the day, greeted his cheeks a l ternate ly with clouds of damp night a i r from the val leys . He reached the keeper 's house where the grass-plot and the garden in front appeared l igh t and pale against the unbroken darkness of the grove from which he had emerged, and psaaed at the garden gaterT. Nature plays such an important par t in everything that takes place throughout the "Return of the Hative" that i t i s possible to allude to no aspect of Hardy's treatment without a reference to th is book. In th i s par t i cu la r connection there i s a splendid description of n igh t fa l l on the heath given at the beginning of the book but i t is fraught with so much meaning in i t s bearing upon the action of the story that i t cannot be isolated from i t s kingship with Hardy's subt les t philosophy. But l a te r in the course of the book an accurate description v n of a hot summer twilight is given as Clyim. fteobright sets forth on his tragic journey which ends in his finding his mother prostrate upon the ground. ,TIn the evening he set out on the journey. Althoug h the LI, hea t of summer was yet intense the days had considerably shortened and before he had advanced a mile on his way, all the heath puijples, browns and greens had merged in a uniform dress, without airiness or gradation and broken only by touches of white where the little heaps of clean quartz sand showed the entrance to a rabbit burrow, or w wnere the white flints of . _._ _ i • - 3 5 -foo t -pa th lay l i k e a thread over the s l o p e s . In almost every one of the i s o l a t e d end s tunted thorns which grew here and there^ a n igh t hawk revealed h i s presence by whir r ing l i k e the c lack of a mi l l as long as he could hold h is b r e a t h , then s topping, f lapping h i s wings, wheeling round the "bush, a l i g h t i n g and a f t e r a s i l e n t i n t e r v a l of l i s t e n i n g , "beginning to whirr again . At each "brushing of Cly3w_'s f ee t white m i l l e r moths flew i n t o the a i r , Just high enough to ca tch upon t h e i r dusty wings the mellowed l i g h t from the wes t , which now shone across the depress ions and l e v e l s of the ground without f a l l i n g thereon to l i g h t them up n . This same accuracy which enables Thomas Hardy to convey a pe r f ec t impression of t w i l i g h t in a l l i t s aspects enables him to reproduce the sensa t ion of heat in both "Fax from the Madding Crowd" and the ,TBeturn of the I la t ive" . In the former at harves t time the enervat ing e f fec t of weeks of hot weather i s f a i t h f u l l y . p r e sen ted . ""The oat harves t began, and a l l the men were a f i e l d under a monochromatic Lasmeas ~sky, amid the t rembl ings a i r , and shor t shadows of noon. Indoors nothing was to be heard save the droning of b l u e - b o t t l e f l i e s , out-of-doors the whet t ing of scythes and the h i s s of t r e s sy o a t - e a r s rubbing together as t h e i r perpendicular s t a l k s of amber-yellow f e l l heavily to each swath. Every drop of moisture not in the men's b o t t l e s and flagons in the form of c i d e r , was r a in ing as p e r s p i r a t i o n from t h e i r foreheads and cheeks. Drought was everywhere elseT r . -36-t IV Th e justly famous chapter in "The Return of the Native" p. V. entitled r'The Journey across the heath" conveys the impression of a sun-haked land with; scientific accuracy and precision. I t was, "ome of a series of days during which snug houses were stifling and when cool draughts were treats; when cracks appeared in clayey gardens and were called 'earthquakes* hy apprehensive children; when Icose spokes were discovered in the wheels of carts and carriages, and when stinging insects haunted the air, the earth, and every drop of water that was to he found. I n Mrs. Yeobright's garden large-leaved plants of a tender kind flagged hy ten o'clock in the morning; rhubarb bent downward at eleven; and even stiff cabbages were limp by noonrr. Then follows the description of the mother starting out upon her long walk while "the air was pulsating silently and oppressing the earth with lassitude. Th e sun had branded the whole heath with his mark, even the purple heath-flowers having put on a browness under the dry blazes of the preceding days. Ever y valley v/as filled with air like that of a kiln and the clean quartz sand of the winter water-courses which formed summer paths had undergone a species of incineration". The aching light of the hot sky is characterized at a single stroke when we are told that "the sapphirine hue of -37-the zenith in spring and early summer had completely gone to "be replaced by a metallic violet". Nex t comes a masterly presentation of the drying heath-pools-, -"Independent worlds of empherons were passing their time in mad carousal, some in the air, some on the hot ground end vegetation, some in the tepid and stringy water of a nearly dried pool. Al l the shallower ponds had decreased to a vaporous mftd, amid which the maggoty shapes of innumerable obscene creatures could be indistinctly seen heaving and wallowing with enjoyment". Finally I Irs. Yeobright sinks down in exhaustion upon the heath and looks around her at the hot sun which had now *got far to the west of south and stood directly in her face like some merciless incendiary, brand in hand, waiting to consume her. Al l visible animation disappeared from the landscape, though the intermittent husky notes of the male grasshoppers from every tufj of furze were enough to show that amid the prostration of the larger animal species an unseen insect world was busy in all the fulness of life. Sh e leant back to obtain more thorough rest and the soft eastern portion of the sky ?/a s as great a relief to her eyes as the thyme was to her head. Whil e she looked a heron arose on that side of the sky and flew on with his face towards the sun. ^ e had come dripping wet from some pool in the valleys, and as he flew the edges - 3 8 -and l i n i n g of h i s wings, h i s t h i g h s , and h i s b r e a s t were so caught "by the "bright sunbeams t h a t he appeared as i f formed of "burnished s i l v e r . The second c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Hardy's na ture de sc r ip t i ons i s h i s d i sp lay of p r a c t i c a l and s c i e n t i f i c knowledge of na tu re factSo The h a b i t s of animate na ture were as c l ea r ly understood "by hira as were the minutes t v a r i a t i o n s in the aspec t s of inanimate n a t u r e . That the ha "bits of animate na ture were a we l l - l ea rned lesson to him can he e a s i l y proven "by the minute knowledge of sheep which i s displayed at every turn in "Par from the I.Iadding Crowd" while Marty South in rrThe •Joodlanderi' reads and i n t e r p r e t s changes in the weather by means of her in t imate knowledge of the hah i t s of the pheasan t s . [. "Across i t the bare trough of a t r ee s t r e t c h e d h o r i z o n t a l l y , r evea l ing every twig agains t the evening f i r e and showing in dark p r o f i l e every beck and movement of three pheasants t h a t were s e t t l i n g themselves down on i t in a row to. r o o s t . " I t w i l l be f ine to-morrow" sa id Marty "for they are acroupied down near ly at the end of the bough. If i t were going to be stormy they 'd squeeze close to the t runk" . In the f i r s t named s to ry there I s a v iv id depic t ion of the hab i t s of bees which adds another ins tance of accuracy. "The Weather bury bees were l a t e in swaisming t h i s year . I t was the l a t t e r p a r t of June. Hot only were they l a t e t h i s . year but unruly . Sometimes throughout a whole season the swarms -39-would alight on the lowest attainable bough such as part of a currant bush or espalie r apple-tree; nex t year they would, with just the same unanimity make straight off to the uppermost member of some tall ^ juairc oostard or quarrington and there defy all invaders who did not come armed with ladders and staves to take them. This was the case at present. Bathsheba' s eyes, shaded with one hand, were following the ascending multitude across the unexplored stretch of blue till they ultimately halted by one of the unwieldy trees spoken of. A  prccess somewhat analogous to that of alleged formations of the universe, time and times ago, was observable. Th e bustling swarm had swept the sky in a scattered and uniform haze, which now thickened to a nebulous centre: thi s glided on to a bough and grew still denser, till it formed a solid black spot upon the light"". The blundering bumble bee is sketched briefly in "Two on a Tower" as follows: "Al l was warm, sunny aid silent, except that a solitary bee which had somehow got within the hollcw of the abacus was singing around enquiringly, unable to discern that ascent was the only mode of escape". In the same novel the heroine spends a night in the woods, and with the coming of dawn £er attention is attracted to the awakening bird-life around her, and to the different sounds the birds make;- "Sh e became conscious of some interesting proceedings which were going on in the trees above - 4 0 -her head and around. A coa r se - th roa ted c h a t t e r was the f i r s t sound. I t was the spa^rrow ju s t waking. Next: rChee-weeze-weeze-weeze J* from anothers r e t r e a t ^ I t was a f inch. Th i rd : - 'Tink - t i n k - t ink a-chinkj from the hed£e^ I t was a robin . > 1 Chuck - chuck - chuck I overhead A s q u i r r e l . " Then through the t r e e s she watched the horses s topping for t h e i r morning dr ink , and we are t o ld : "they stopped to dr ink a t a pond on the o ther s ide of the way"**. She watched them flouncing i n t o the poo l , d r i n k i n g , t o s s i n g up t h e i r heads , d r ink ing again , the water d r i b b l i n g from t h e i r l i p s in s i l v e r t h r e a d s . There was another flounce and they came out of the pond and turned back again towards the farm". The sounds, sights and sensations attendant upon a recur rain storm scene,/again and again in the various Wessex Hovels, and they are invariably depicted with unerring skill and taste which doe s not allow their scientific accuracy to obtrude itself unpleasantly. "Unde r the Greenwood Tree" contains a clever picture of an autumn rain storm. "A single vast gray clcud covered all the country from which the small rain and mist had just begun to blow down in wavy sheets alternately thick and thin. Th e trees of the old brown plantation writhed like miserable men as -41-the air wended its way softly among them; the lowest portions of their trunks that had hardly ever been known to move were visibly rocked by the fiercer gusts, distressing the mind by its painful unwontedness, as, when a strong man i s seen to shed tears. Low-hangin g bows went up and down; high and erect boughs went to and fro, the blasts being so irregular and divided into so many cross-currents, that neighboring branches of the same tree swept the skies in independent motions, crossed each other, passed or became entangled. Across the open spaces flew flocks of green and yellowish leaves, which after travelling a long distance from thei r parent trees, reached the ground and lay there with their undersides upward". A similar though slighter passage is found in "Two on X. a  Tower", "te n blurred and dreary days during which th e whole landscape dripped like a mop; the park trees swabbed the gravel from the drive, while the sky was a zinc-colored archivaul t of immovable cloudg. The sounds and sensations experienced by the uneasy Clynwt after his wife had gone out into the night to run away from her unhappy life, are vividly sketched in the "Return of the Native", "It began to rain and blow hard as the evening advanced. -L X - L « The wind rasped and scraped a t the corners of the house and f i l l i p e d the eaves-droppings l i k e peas a g a i n s t tho window panes . He walked r e s t l e s s l y about the untenanted rooms, -42-stopping strange noises in the windows and doors by jamming splinters of wood into the casements and crevices and pressing together the lead work of the quarries where it had become loosened from the glass. I t was one of those nights when cracks in the walls of old churches widen, when ancient stains on the ceilings of decayed manor-houses, are renewed and enlarged from the size of a man's hand to an area of many feet. The littl e gate in the palings before his dwelling continually opened and clicked together again, but when he looked out eagerly nobody was there; it was as if invisible shapes of the dead were passing in on their way to visit him Clyne arose and looked out of the window. Rai n was still falling heavily, the whole expanse of heath before him emitting a subdued hiss under the downpour". In the sustained description of the struggle to get the grain under shelter before the impending storm which occurs in "Far from the Madding Crowd", a most complete picture of a violent rainstorm is given in all its details. O n the night of the supper and dance given by Sergeant Troy, Gabriel Oak with his accurate nature knowledge realizes that the harvest is in danger and is warned of the coming change in the weather by countless trivial signs. The night had a sinister aspect. A  heated breeze from the south slowly fanned the summits of lofty objects and in the sky dashes of buoyant cloud were sailing in a course at right angles -43-to t h a t of another s t ra tum, n e i t h e r of them in the d i r e c t i o n of the breeze "below. The moon as seen through these films^had a lurid metalli c look . Th e fields wer e sallo w wit h th e impur e light an d all were tinge d i n a monochrome a s if "beheld throug h stained glass . Th e same evenin g th e shee p ha d trailed homewar d head t o tail, th e hehaviour o f the rooks ha d "been confuse d 1, and the horse s ha d moved wit h timidit y an d caution-. Thunder wa s Imminent and , taking som e secondar y appearance s into consideration , i t was likely t o "be followed "b y one of the lengthened rain s whic h mar k th e close o f dry weather fo r the II season. After some per iod of mis tg iv ing , Gabriel suddenly "bethought himself of the sheep and he kn<\w tha t the evidence they would give him would he i n f a l l i b l e so he went to the f l eck and saw enough there to f irmly convince him t h a t h i s susp ic ions were c o r r e c t . "They were crowded c lose together around some furze hushes , and the f i r s t p e c u l i a r i t y observable was t h a t on the sudden appearance of Oak's head, they did n o t s t i r or run away. They had now a t e r r o r of something g rea te r than the t e r r o r of man. But t h i s was not the most noteworthy f e a t u r e : they were a l l grouped in such a way tha t t h e i r t a i l s , without a s ing le except ion, were towards tha t hal f of the horizon from which the storm threatened Jvery voice in nature was unanimous in bespeaking change. Eut two d i s t i n c t t r a n s l a t i o n s a t tached to these dumbjexpressions. Apparently there was to be a thunder -44-storm and afterwards, a cold, continuous rain.. Th e creeping things seemed to know all about the letter rain^ but little of the interpolated thunder storm; while the sheep knew all about th e thunder-storm and nothing of the lattor rain". So Hardy builds up the feeling of hushed expectancy in the night, while Oak hurriedly prepares for the struggle against time and finally the chapter ends vdth the cataclysm imminent. "Time went on and the moon vanished, not to reappear. > The night had a haggard look, like a sick thing ; and there came finally an utter expiration of air from the whole heavens in the form of a slow breeze which might have been likened to a death A  light flapped over the scene as if reflected from the phosphorescent wings crossing the sky and a rumble filled the air. I t was the first move of the approaching stfcrm. Th e second peal was noisy with comparatively little visible lightning. Ther e came a third flash. Manoeuvre s of a most extraordinary kind were going on in the vast firmamental bellows overhead. Th e lightning now was the color of silver and gleamed in the heavens like a milled army. tumble s became rattles. 3very hedge, bush and tree was distinct as in a line engraving. I n a paddock was a herd of heifers, and the forms of these were visible at this moment in the act of -45-gal lcping ahou t i n th e wi ldes t an d maddes t c o n f u s o a , f l inpin p the ir heel s an d t a i l s hig h Int o th o a i r , thei r head s t o earth . A poplar i n th o immoduat e foreproun d wa s l ik e a n in k strok e o n "burnished t i n . Tha n th e pictur e vanished > leavin g th e dnrknos s so intens e tha t Gabrie l worke d ent ire l y b y f e e l i n g wit h hi s v> hands• The pioture of Gabriel and Bathsheba working frantically at the thatching Is interspersed with many more such details as the Btorm gains in fury. Finall y the ollmax comes with a flash of lightning which strikes a tree in the vicinity and Interrupts all further labor.** I n this description the splendid power with which the author handles his knowledge equals the dept h O f hi s knowledge . Th e r e s u l t o f th i s combinatio n makes hi s stor m a n actua l elementa l experienc e throug h whic h the reade r passe s i n spit e o f himself . Th e f ina l stupendou s fury o f th e l i g h t i n g i s expresse d wit h s t a r t l i n g c learness . "Heaven opene d the n indeed . Th e f las h wa s almos t to o novel fo r i t s inexpressibl y dangerou s natur e t o b e a t onc e rea l i zed , an d the y coul d onl y comprehen d th e magnificenc e o f i t s beauty . I t spran g fro m e a s t , west , north , south . I t wa s a  perfec t dano e o f death . Th e form s o f skeleton s appeared i n th e a i r , shape d wit h blu e f i r e fo r bone s -  dancing , leaping, s t r id ing , racin g aronnd^an d minglin g altogethe r I n unparalleled confusion . Wit h thes e wer e intertwine d undulatin g snakes o f green . Behin d thes e wa s a  broa d mas s o f l e s s e r - 4 6 -l i g h t . Simultaneously came from every p a r t of the sky, What may be c a l l e d , a shout . Since though no shout ever came near i t , i t was more of the nature of a shout than anything e l se ear th ly The t a l l t r e e on the h i l l seemed on f i r e to a white hea t , and a new one among these t e r r i b l e voices mingled with the l a s t crash of those preceding. I t was a s tupefying b l a s t , harsh and p i t i l e s s , and i t f e l l upon t h e i r ears i n a dead f l a t blow, without t h a t r eve rbe ra t ion which lends the tones of a drum to more d i s t a n t thunder. Ey the l u s t r e r e f l e c t e d from every p a r t of the ea r th and from the wide conica l scoop abovs i t , he saw tha t the t r ee was s l i c e d down the whole length of i t s t a l l s t r a i g h t stem, a huge ribband of bark being apparent ly flung off. The other por t ion remained e r ec t and revealed the bared surface as a s t r i p of white down the f r o n t . The l i g h t n i n g had s t ruck the t r e e . A sulphurous smell f i l l e d the a i r ; then a l l was s i l e n t and black as a cave in =MuiuilrT. Later when Grabriel had saved the major por t ion of the h a r v e s t , the g rea t storm subsided and the s e t t i n g - i n of autumn ooono- i s depic ted . n I t was now f ive o 'c lock and the dawn was promising to break in hues of drab and ash . The a i r changes i t s temperature and s t i r r e d i t s e l f more v igorous ly . Coibl breezes coursed in t r ansparen t eddies round Gabr i e l ' s face . The wind sh i f t ed ye t a po in t or two and blew s t ronger . In ten minutes every wind t rembl in - 4 7 -of heaven seemed to be roaming at large A huge drop of rain smote\his face, the wii d swirled round every corner, the t rees rocked to the bases of the i r trunks and the twigs clashed in s t r i f e The ra in came on in earnest and stretched XED§: obliquely through the dull atmosphere in l iquid spines unoroken in continuity betv/een their beginnings in the clouds and thei r points in the earth". The same story 4.S so closely woven about the different aspects of nature, that i t affords a complete example in i t s e l f of the detailed prac t ica l knowledge which Hardy possesses concerning a l l country a c t i v i t i e s . In the beginning of the book a l l the wisdom of the experienced shepherd i s displayed in a description of lambing-time, l a t e r the same faculty i s evinced when the foolish creatures become "blasted" through eating the young, green clover. The wisdom of out-of-doors which enables i t s devotees to derive prac t ica l information from what would seem the most s ignif icant of signs^is hinted at in the beginning of the book in the passage which describes Gabriel t e l l i ng the time by-glancing at the stiarsxs s t a r - l i t heavens. * He stood and carefully examined the sky to ascertain the time of night from the a l t i tudes of the s t a r s . The Dog-Star and Aldebran, pointing to the res t l e s s Pleiades, were half-way up the Southern sky, and between them hung Orion, v/hich gorgeous constel lat ion never burnt more -48-vividly than now as it swung itself forth above the : 3=&&e of the landscape. Casto r and Eollux with their quiet shine were almost on the meridian: the barren and gloomy square of Pegasus was creeping around to the north west; far away through the plantation, Tfega sparHed like a lamp suspended amid the leafless trees and Cassiopeia's chair stood daintily poised on the uppermos "boughs. 'One o'clock' said Gabriel". In the eleventh chapter, which describes the coming of snow, a curious passage occurs, which i s almost incoigruais in a narrative because i t reads l ike a scient i f ic t r e a t i s e on the seasons. Whether i t is a blemish in i t s s e t t ing or not , i t i s undoubtedly a section which shows Hardy's amazing prac t ica l knowledge of nature. a The changes of season are less obtrusive on spots of t h i s kind than amid woodland scenery. S t i l l , to a close observer they are just as perceptible; the difference is that the i r media of manifestation are less t r i t e and familiar than such well-known ones as the bursting of the buds or the fa l l of the leaf. Many are not so stealthy and gradual as we may be apt to imagine in considering the general torpidity of a moor or heath. V/inter in coming to the place under not ice , advanced in some such well-marked stages as the following: The r e t r ea t of the snakes. The transformation of the ferns. The f i l l i n g of the pools -49-A r i s ing of fogs. The emhrowning by»frostv The collapse of the fungi. An obl i te ra t ion "by snow*1. Suoh examples as the foregoing go far along the way to just ifying the claim made in the "beginning of the chapter that Hardyls sc ien t i f i c in his p rac t i ca l knowledge cf a l l the manifestations of nature and that he permeates his novels with th i s wisdom. The th i rd charac te r i s t ic of his nature descriptions i s his ab i l i ty to co l l ec t his deta i l s in such a way as to convey to his readers a general and finished impression of some one sensation. In th is connection the repelliSig picture of a swap which follows Bathsheba's awakening in the woodland reproduces the noisome quality of the place in a most faithfulx manner and the general impression is that of i t s balefulness or treachery. "Between the beautiful yellowing ferns with their feathery arms, the ground sloped downwards to a hollow, in which was a speoie8 of swamp dotted with fungi. A  morning mist hung over it now - a fulsome yet magnificent silvery veil, full of.light from the sun, yet semi-opaque - the hedge behind it being in some measure hidden by its hazy luminousness. U p the sides of this depression grew sheaves of the common rush, and hore and there a peouliar speoies of flag, the blades of which glistened in the emerging sun, like scythes. Bu t the general aspect of the swamp was malignant. Fro m its moist and poisonous coat seemed to be exhaled the essences of evil things in the earth, and in the witero under the earth. , I'h e fungi grew in all manner - 5 0 -of p o s i t i o n s from r o t t i n g leaves and t r ee - s tumps , some e x h i b i t i n g t h e i r clammy tops , o the r s thei r>oozing g i l l s . Some were marked with great sp lo tches red as a r t e r i a l b leed , o thers were saffron yellow and o thers t a l l and a t t enua ted wi th stems l i k e macaroni. Some were l ea the ry and of r i c h e s t brown. The hollow seemed a nursery of p e s t i l e n c e s small and g r e a t , in the immediate neighborhood of comfort and h e a l t h . " Some of the most e f f ec t ive of h i s na tu re p r e s e n t a t i o n s are those which, deal with the beauty in the dawn. After a n igh t of r a i n comes t h i s love ly awakening of n a t u r ^ - "Almost before the f i r s t f a i n t sign of dawn appeared , she arose again and opened the window to obta in a f u l l b rea th ing of the new morning a i r , the panes being now wet with t rembling t e a r s l e f t by the n igh t a i r , each one rounded with a pa le , l u s t r e caught from primrose-hued s l a shes through a cloud low down in the awakening sky. Prom the t r e e s came the sound of steady dr ipp ing upon the d r i f t e d leaves under them, and from the d i r ec t i on of the church another noise p e c u l i a r and not i n t e r m i t t e n t l i k e the r e s t , the p u t l of water f a l l i n g i n to a pool" . A p i c t u r e of haunt ing beauty i s painted by the c o n t r a s t between the n igh t and the f i r s t f a i n t s igns of dawn in win te r . "The moon shone t o -n igh t and i t s l i g h t was not of a customary k ind . The window admitted only a r e f l e c t i o n of i t s r a y s , and the pale sheen has t ha t reversed d i r e c t i o n which snow g ive s , coming upward and l i g h t i n g up the c e i l i n g in a phenominal way, ca s t i ng shadows m s t range p l a c e s , and p u t t i n g l i g h t s where shadows used - 5 1 -to be Then the dawn drew on. The f u l l power of the c l ea r heaven was not equal to t h a t of a cloudy slcy a t noon I t was one of the usual slow sunr i se s of t h i s time of the year , and the sky, pure v i o l e t in the zen i t h , was leaden to the northward and murky to the e a s t , where over the snowy down and apparent ly r e s t i n g upon the r i d g e , the only h a l f of the sun ye t v i s i b l e burnt r a y l e s s , l i k e a red and f lameless f i r e sh in ing over a white hea r th s tone . The whole e f fec t resembled a sunset as childhood resembles age. In o ther d i r e c t i o n s the f i e l d s and sky were so much of one d i r ec t i on by the snow t h a t i t v/as d i f f i c u l t in a hasty glance to t e l l whereabouts the horizon occurred^ and in genera l there was here too t ha t pjrenaturaX invers ion of l i g h t and sftade which a t tends the prospec t when the p a r i s h b r igh tness commonly in the sky, i s found on the e a r t h , and the shades of e a r t h are in the sky. Over the west hung the coaouf^g moon, now d u l l and greenish-yel low, l i k e t a rn i shed b r a s s " . Every one of the './essex novels shows Hardy as much in sympathy with the n a t u r a l world as he i s with the men and women v/ho seem a p a r t of the s o i l on which they l i t r e . Throughout the s t o r i e s of h i s beloved Wessex country, the re runs the pe renn ia l refreshment of n a t u r e , for he has the love of genius for the open a i r . From the length t>f the examples c i t e d , i t must no t be imagined, however, t ha t the n a r r a t i v e i t s e l f , i s ever s u b s i d i a r y -52 to th i s natur e intoros t . 'li s ntoib s or e alvyo j a v /ol l - lo l d an d every deta i l ? i s charge d wit h th o s igni f icanc e o f th e whole * Description unles 8 ver y relevan t an d v iv id , i s ap t t o lesso n the powe r o f th e narrativ e fo r i t i s ap t t o caus e enjoymen t through i t s i n t r i n s i c beauty , rather tha n throur h i t s re la t io n to th e s tory . Bu t i n Hardy' s hand s th e doecriptionsjappoo r to "b e wrung fro m hi m b y th e stor y an d t o deriv e th e majo r shar e of the i r power , fro m the i r re lat ionshi p t o i t . The reade r i s consciou s o f thei r part icula r char m bu t h i s attent ion i s r ivete d o n th e genera l heightenin g o f emotio n produced b y th e v iv i d statemen t o f relevan t f a c t s . Thi s i s a quality o f excel lenc e tha t i s rar e i n pros e o r i n poetry . Too ofte n descript iv e passage s hav e t o re l y so le l y itpo n thei r ov/ n heauty fo r thei r e f f e c t , an d the y onl y serv e t o interrup t th o progress o f th e narrativ e i n whio h the y appear . Unless description s ad d t o th e culminativ e powe r a m s  whole , they ar e irrelevan t howeve r beautifu l the y ma y be . Thoma s Hardy nevo r f a l l s belo w t h i s atandard , fo r a s w e hav e soen , h i s descript ive passage s ar e e f f ec t iv e i n themselve s an d doubl y s o through thei r o lose r re lat ionshi p t o th o nove l a s aK^iole . I t i a saf e t o sa y i n t h i s connection , tha t th e natur e description s as auoh , ar e alway a a n elemen t o f f i r s t importance , e s sen t ia l in th e developmen t o f th e stor y n o l e s s tha n masterl y p i c tor ia l pas8age8 i n themselves . Although i*ard y reache s n o rea l i za t io n o f th e relctionahi p exiattng betwee n -55-as high a standard of excellence in his descriptions as does his contemporary. Th e qualities which ere peculiar to the two men seem to gain in effectiveness through their points of variance with each, other. 54-THE PHILOSOPHY OF' NATURE IH GEORGE MEREDITH As stated in the introductory chapter, the second general heading into which Meredith's nature treatmen t falls, is that which concerns his philosqhy and ethical interpretation of the natural world. A s we have seen, he is a maste r of simple description and has given us liberal examples of his power throughout his novels and his verse. I To student of Ileredith can ignore the fact that nature is closely bound to the authorXs view of life itself and therefore no study of his works is complete without an attempt to find out in what wfc way he has linked his creed to natxire. When his works come up for examination in this respec^ his novels and his poems should be considered with equal care for one is never the product of a particular side of his character, and the other the result of a second phase. Bot h forms are permeated in equal measure with his characteristic* theories. Hi s novels share, to a great extent, in the lyric spirit seen in his poetry and his poems have the same rich endowment of masterly insight as is found in the best of the novels. I n both are found the same flashing beauty, the same faults of uncouth style and over-subtle expression and the same ethical ideas. A  fairly comprehensive view of the outstanding theories to which the man has given expression can be found -taere, in either division of his work. A s is often the case, in the poetry the concentrated essence of these theories is more easily discernible than amid the progress of his narratives. The more condensed form of the poetry naturally results in a I -55-more compact presentation of ideas than is necessary in prose. for this reason most of the illustrations given in this chapter have been taken from the poetry, f£c>a Msposi t ion uraries according as the different phases of human thought and experience are treated by him, but on the whole a certain set of major ideas which contribute to his general attitude can be selected and examined as characteristic. In his consideration and treatment of practically every question the same broad group of ideas recurs consistently, although sometimes in slightly differing forms. Thi s is because everything he has done has been pervaded by the author&s own strong personality and temperament. There is, naturally enough, no logical sequence or arrangement in the recurrence of these beliefs, so that it is impossible to set them forth in tabulated form. However , it is possible to trace a general attitude to life by means of an array of outstanding examples picked from everywhere in his Works. I n this case it does not seem amiss to group 3ftf2§*£ thi s under the general title of Meredith's "reading" of the Lyan I spiri t of Heaven and Earth. Throughou t his writings he oetry hil- seem s to be elaborating the doctrine expressed by "Jordsworth 7 of e i n a letter to Ruskin which bids us "go to nature In all ith singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thoughts but how best to penetrate her meaning and remember her instruction', rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing and rejoicing always in the truth". T o Meredith this is but a beginning, -56 for as he puts it ^ Earth only, "gives the edifice". I t is not enough to know that the secret inspiration of earth has given us a fair start in life, a share in the evoliitionary development of human society must act as a complement to this and teach us the rest of life's truths. I f men "build no base" upon the edifice Earth has given them, they are doomed to disappear. The y must realize that it is their diity to march steadily onward and upward and nature is the spirit which guides them "ta this realization in every instance. I f fully developed man keeps ever in close contoct with Earth he can develop into her comrade "and helper rather than a subordinete in her scheme. This is briefly the final message lleredith gives his readers when all his subsidiary theories are massed together. Each of the component parts of his creed is fxill of significance in itself and each should be picked out from the mass in order to show how everyone phase contributes its share to the final attitude of the poet to the facts Of the Univ-erse. I  shall endeavor to give examples of nine distinct theories, all more or less closely linked together in their relation to the poet's creed in its entirety but all possessing individuality of their own. Thes e theories are briefly his optimism; his belief in the possibility of spiritual remewal; the necessity for implicit Faith; the belief in Earth as the path to Heaven; the necessity for ira^ i-tri- perfect union of brain, body and spirit^ the kinship between man and earth; applicatio n of Evolution, and finally his ability to derive some lesson -57-fron every conceivable aspect of nature. Finall y ! ehrll ptvc an example of the summation of the philsophy, suchtonets have produced when combined i n ::eredithfs "ro din, o f life", The first r>oint to be considered i s thet Meredith is an optimist i n his creed. Hi s nature, TO are told, was full of strength, ardor and joy. H e was frank and sturdy in his acceptance of the imperfections of the universe for his conception of true Optimism was not a blind m d fatuou s thing. H e was fully aware of all the flows in existence but hie optimism was unshaken by them for he had a sx sincere belief in the essential goodness of things. H e gives his devotion willingly and consistently to what he oalls, "the dream of the blossom of Good", defined by him as -"Our banner of battle unrolled In it8 waver and current and curve." n His "reading of earthy 1B the logical result of the beliefs which are instinctive to him, and it is the result of oeep thought upon his part. H e himself says that "blood a nd spirit' that is, body and soul, cannot read Earth alone. Ther e must be fusion of these two with "mind", and he goes on to lay Btress upon the part which is played by the brain. "Hard Weather" he says, in this connection "Never 1B Earth misread by braird. "Thi s is a far saner and more convincing attitude to take than is that of the emotional optimist who believes in everything indiscriminately for the sheer joy of being optimistic Meredit h recommends penetrating thought and vouches for it, that the inevitable conclusion which -58-wbrain" will reach will be an optimistic one. He holds tenaciously to the belief that beneficience has an assured place in the elements which go to make up the universe, H e realizes that there must be a continual struggle between this force and the elements of the world, which are not good and he does not know what will be the result for us the children of Enrth. H e does know however, th&t we have reasonable grounds for f a i t h and hope. Since i t Ktatfct i s obviously impossible to get beyond the universe and the secret it contains, our wisest course is to evolve the best interpretation possible out of what is tangible and to cling to that. Eve n were we to discover in what way the universe is managed, we would be unable to understand fend therefore, idle speculation and questioning on such a problem is worse than futile on our part. Th e only way for us to realize life at tte best, is to believe in the best,, and such belief is to be found through true feeling and action, not through "questions that sow not nor spin". I n "A Faith on Trial" the poet begins to propound just such questions but he is deterred by his belief in nature. Hi s conviction in the uselessness of vain questioning is expressed as follows: "Shall man into fcdm the mystery of breathy From his quick-beating pulse a pathway spy? Or learn the secret of the shrouded death By lifting up the lid of a white eye? Cleave thou thy way with fathering desire Of fire to reach the fire." The second phase phase of Meredith's philosophy with which we must deal in this chapter , is his belief in the possibility of spiritual "renewal through contact with the -59-foroee of nature, Thi s is one of hiB favorite theories and he returns to it time and again throughout his novels ae well ee his poems. Whe n the good Vernon is obliged to walk cros c country in a drenching rainstorm in search of the truant Crossjay, we are told that we should love all changes of weather for they all •bring us benefit of some kind". n  The taking of rain and Bun alike befits men of our climate, rjid he who rould have the secret of a strengthening intoxieation, must court x the clouds of the south-west with a lover's blood." The same theory is worked out more elaborately in the chapter entitled "^ Nature speakB" from "The Ordecl of r ichard Peveral". Her e Richard is depicted in the depths of his black despair and rebellion against the unbending sternees of his father's system. I n his fury he plunges out into the Rh^neland forest and the chapter which follows describes his wild welk through a roaring storm which lasts throughout th e night. With the morning the tempest subside s and the agony of tho young man's mind has abated* H e emerges from his buffet with nature in a chastened mood and he is purified of his angry rebellion. A t this point the following pregnant lines occur: "When he looked out from his trance on the breathing world, the small birds hopped and ohirped: war m fresh sunlight was over all the hills* H e was on the edge of the ftreat, entering a plain dot had with ripe corn,under a spacious morning sky*" These indications of returning life and joy are the final proofs needed to settle Richard in hiB conviction that he must go hack to his wife and try again* Thi s significant incident 60-affords a striking parallel to "Peter Bell? which was written to illustrate the healing and redemptive impulses from a "^e^aal'wood". The counter part of the same ides clothed in poetic form is given in "Earth and a Wedded Woman". Thi s is the story of a Xorely and despairing wife, whose husband has long been at the wars. Th e poem opens with drought in the land as well as in her soul. A t last the rain comes and as she lies listening to it throughout th e summer night, she awakens again to life and hope for when the splendour o f the elemental forces is revealed to her she realizes that part of the spirit of Earth is the spirit of brave endurance. "Through night, with bedroom window wide for air Lay Susan, tranced to hear all heaven descend And gurgling voices came of Earth, and rare ps.st powerfu l breathings deeper than lifeTs end, From her heayad breast of sacred common mould* , Whereby this Tovf" laid wife was made to feel Unworded things and old To her pained heart appeal. Rain I 0  the glad refresher of the Grain J And down in deluges of blessed rain J" The last verse is a scene of glad recovery in the morning: "At morn she stood to live for ear and sight love sky or cloud, or rose, or grasses drenched. Rain! 0  the glad refresher of the grain I Thrice beauteous is our sunshine after rain I  M This idea of the benefit and purification which can be derived from the rainstorm is typical of Meredith's ethics, He feels that contact and sympathy with all moods of nature enables man to find inspiration and strength which he can use -61-in his personal struggles in life. "Unwor&e d things and old" are the means by which Earth appeals to the deepest that is in us and stirs within us our dim and dormant memories of an unshaped promise which Earth holds and which is waiting -»T aa TJO dooipaor it. S o the poet tells us that we should get near to the secret by going into the fields and woods to breathe recovery and preparation lor the renewal of life's battle. "leave the uproar: a t a leap Thou Shalt strike a woodland path, Enter silence, not of sleep. Under shadows, not of wratnj Breathe which is the spirit's batt^  In the old beginnings find." He re-echoes this identical theme in a more •$&&  Jocular way in the poem entitled "By the Rosanna". Th e whole of this poem is a humorous expression of his conviction that man must go t nature to extract the best of spiritual renewal for life's struggle. Th e livelier aspects of nature can convey the deepest meaning to those who are attuned. I t is for this reason that he depicts the marriage of a growls; prosaic London cabman with the spirit of an Alpine rainbow. I t is an extreme and eccentric expression of his theory that the •iCTtllegt aspect, the most poetic side of nature must be united to the commonest of every day humanity if the mutual essence of both is to be made manifest, "Your Nymph Is on trial. Wil l she own Her parentage, Humanity? Of her essence these things but form a part Her heart comes out of the human heart. -62-Paith in ourselves is faith in Time I And faith in Nature keeps the force We have in us for daily wear." The memory of an hour of communion with nature can do much to revive the benefits of the actual experience for, as the poet says: "How often will those long links of foam Cry to me in my English home. To nerve me,wherever I hear them belloWj Like the smack of the hand of a gallant fellow. The third topic which contribtites to Meredith's general philosophy is his insistence upon the necessity of tmfaltering faith in Earth the mother. An y attempt to question her processes is reprehensible for it argues lack oflraith. Th e poet's rooted aversion to such a weakness is repeatedly presented. "There let our trust be firm in Good Lon Thoug h we be of the fasting. J ar Ou r questions are a mortal nDrood_, Our work is everlasting. We children of Beneficence Are in its being sharers', . And*tohither vainer sounds than whence, For word with such wayfarers." The only sure way to arrive at Nature's meaning is through loving and perpetual contact with Earth. Th e face of Nature may be interpreted only by those who study her and love her. Thi s offers a distinct contrast to Wordsworth in his "Intimations of Immortality" where he belittles Earth and declares that we are first of all, the children of Heaven: a t i o n s "No t in entire forgetfulness, -65-And not in utter darkness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our Home." To him Earth plays the role of a rather ignoble foster-mother and no more "The homely ITuse doth all she can .  ' To make her foster-child, her inmate Han, Forget the glories he hath known And that imperial palace whence he came." To Meredith Earth herself is the great "other, the ) mighty "She" whose praises he continuously sings through out the pages of his poetry. Fo r thi s reason we owe her our implicit faith. The spiritual elements in man come from Earth as surely as do the elements of the flesh. Othe r poets look to Heaven for the moral sanction of our actions. Meredit h believes that what ever is j conceded by Earth and approved by her is absolutely and finally right. Eart h is the only part of the Universe which we know and just as in it the good and the evil are intr^cabOtf mingled, so Earth is a part of Heaven itself, that part in which we have our present home. Wha t is moral for Earth cannot go very far afield from what is moral in the whole scheme of things. Thi s earth is the only portion of the whole of space which we c observe with any accuracy, and assuredly the only way to faith or belief in underlying laws is through an approximation of what must be the eternal truths for our Earth. Thi s idea in Meredith"s own words is given in "TCord «smon t and his Amllita" --64-"We do not get to any heaven by renouncing the toother we spring from; and when there is an eternal secret for us, it is best to believe that Earth knows, to keep near her, even in our utmost aspirations." He reiterates the idea in a letter written to his friend, the Reverend Mr. Jessapp, - "Does not all scionce tell us that when we forsake the earth, we reach up to a frosty, inimical T^a»«? Fo r my part I love and cling to Earth, as the one piece of God's handiwork which we possess." In "Meditation under Stars" the poet is led to reflect that there are other Earths and infinite life akin to ours and therefore^ to look about at the myriads of stars is but to see our hopes duplicated infinitely. Rerso n gives us a sense of brotherhood with the infinite spiritual life of space and we cannot help but conclude that love must be the gift of other stars even as it is the gift of ours. ;ion "Th e issues known in us, our unsolved>solved, sr Tha t ther e with toil life climbs the self-same tree . :s "So may we read and little fin d them cold ; Not frost y lamps illumining dea d space, Hot distan t aliens , not senseles s Powers, The fire is in them whereof we are born; The music o f their motion may be ours ! Spirit shal l deem them beckoning Earth i nd voice d Sisterly t o her, in her beams rejoiced, Of love, the grand impulsion , we behol d The love tha t lends her grace Among the starry fold. Then at new flood o f customary morn, Look at her^through her showers, Her mists, her streaming gold , A wonder edges the familiar faoe: She wears no more tha t rob e of printed hours; Half strang e seems earth and sweeter than her flowers." -65-This idea naturally leads I'eredith a step further to a theory which is expressed again and again throughout the course of hlSii poems and which seems to siim un his whole attitude towards life, i f it is possible to point to any one particular phase of it as completely representative It is his theory that Earth is the intermediate step to heaven, the fourth heading under which his philosophy of nature falls.^ To reach the spiritual God we must commence with nature, we must "read" earth and therein only will we find the direct path to God. "She oan lead us, only she, Unto God's footstool whither she reaches; Loved, enjoyed her gifts must he; Reverenced the truths she teachesT*" Of course, as is obvious, it is with the good elements in Nature that the Deity is identified. Llan Ts task is to segregate and make conscious this good and his reward wil"1 be a clear vision of his kinship with God. llowhcr e in his poems does lleredith state, in his enthusiasm for earth, that to him all Nature is good. Tha t would be the very reprehensible and blind optimism which he deplores, but it is only reasonable to believe that the moral pert of nature is synonymous with God. Th e seeking for and finding of this good is a slow and often a terrible ordeal. Thi s is the central theme of the "Egoist", the "Ordeal of Richard Several" and "Rhoda Fleming". Eac h of these books is an elaborate picture of youth winning through to wisdom and -66-and strength by means of soul-stirring trials. Eart h commands acquiesance in these trials; that, as we are told in "Outer and Inner" is her way of testing man's faith in her. "Accept she says; i t is not hard In woods; hu t she in towns Repeats accept; and have we wept And have we quailed with fears, Or shrunk with horrors sure reward Xle have whom knowledge crowns; Who see in mould, the rose unfold^ The soul through Mttaa •blood and tears* True acceptance embraces only the good in nature. Th e other elements are something against which we must sturdily contend. A  man should be, "Obedient to nature, not her slave: Her lord, if to her rigid laws he bows, Her dust, if with his conscience he plays knave, And bids the Passions on the Pleasvtres browze." The poet's belief in our fcfcjaitstex kinship with animate nature^ the fifth topic, must not be disregarded. I.Ieredit h believes that since we live under the seme laws and conditions as do the animals and the growing things, we must have a real kinship with them. Th e same laws that have produced man have produced the other living things, and so it is that we do feel or should feel a keen sense of sympathy wit h them. H e says that the appeal which the crocus flower makes to us is not BO much through her beauty as through the fact that she is part of our common and fundamental attribute, -  "life " itself. The fields and the woods are really counterparts of ourselves on a lower plane. The y may lack the elements of -57-nd ce continuous struggle for advancement which characterizes man but the peace and beauty that is theirs, whispers to man of Paradise itself. "Sweet as Eden is the air And Eden - sweet the ray. Ho Paradise is lost for them Who foot by branching root and stem And lightly with the woodland share4 The change of night and day." ——— "Sweet as Eden is the air And Eden -  swee t the ray." A contemplation in the 7/oods leads the poet to feel again that the life of Earth in its multifarious phases, is in some way a counterpart of our own -  on e divine plan underlies- everything. • "I neighbor the invisible So close that my consent Is only asked, for spirits masked To leap from trees and flowers And this because with them I dwell In t hought, while calmly bent To read the lines dear Earth designs Shall speak her life on ours." This last theory proves the sixth idea which states that body and spirit must be united to brain in order to get the best of natureTs meaning. Th e poet could not have arrived at his conviction that man is akin to all other forms of animate nature had not his brain collaborated with his love of nature. Th e transition to the sixth point is a natural one for this: reason. Th e poem "Nature and Life" shows how nature in the woods can give man refreshment by making him feel his kinship with her -68-deepest elemental forces. Bu t man must give something in return for this, and that something is the allegiance of his mind for nature can only be interpreted c.de^uately through that one medium. Th e ,/oodland cannot develop all that is in man, but when he takes the peace he has found in the forest, back to his ordinary life he will find that he has won a new store of courage. I n "The woods of 7/estermain" a forest is used as an allegorical symbol for human life,and the poem as a whole gives compact expression of Meredith1s conviction that the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual must be completely balanced in man so that he may have the necessary courage and fs.ith to carry him safely through the "enchanted woods". Th e dragon mentioned in the poem is the same as the one which appears in "The Ode to Youth in Memory" and it is the symbol of selfishness - the one unpardonable sin to Meredith. "Enter these enchanted woods, foods Yo u who dare-! Nothin g harms beneath the leaves amain Mor e than waves a swimmer cleaves, Toss your heart up with the lark, Foot at pefce with mouse and worm, Fair you fare^  Only at a dread of dark Quaver, and they quit their form: Thousand eye-balls under hoods Have you by the hair, Enter these enchanted woods, You who dare." __ _ Man is not mere flesh, or mere nind, or mere spirit -At his completest he is a splendid harmony of all three and his development to this stage is due to the -69-inscrutable workings of life or Mother Earth, who is the Deity reverenced above all others, by Meredith. "Each of each in sequent birth Blood and brain and spirit three (Say the deepest gnomes of Earth)> Join for true felicity. Are they parted, then expect Some one sailing to be wrecked; Separate hunting are they sped, Scan the morsel coveted. Earth that Trial, is: sh e hides Joy from him who that divides3 Showers it when the three are one Glossing her in union." The same thought underlies the following passgae from another letter to the Reverend A. Jessapp - "le t men make good blood I constantly cry. I  hold that to be rightly materialistic - to understand and take nature as she is -is to get on the true divine highroad. Tha t we should attain to a healthy humanity is surely the most pleasing thing in G-odTs sight." W « need only look at his array of well-balanced men and women who live in his novels to see whether or no Meredith has borne out and illustrated his conviction. The idea of the ideal development which man must reach before he represents the ideal that Earth has planned for him leads the poet on to consider our seventh topic, the relationship which exists between earth and humanity. The poem "Earth, and Kan" us its title suggests, aims to set forth this relationship and lays emphasis upon the attitude which man should have to earth a nd to life. T o begin, Earth is man's mother, "his well of strength, his home of rest", but man is again reminded of the fact that, -70-"Hore aid than that embrace, That nourishment, she crnnot give; his heart Involves hiB fate; and she who urged the start Abides the race I  M That is to say, Sarth can give man his first foothold in life but he must work out his own destiny. Th e means by which he must do this is the attainment of the perfectly balanced development Earth desires to see in her c h i l d r e n , a nd h i s f i n a l reward w i l l be in glimpsing E a r t h ' s v i s i o n and recompense. A sure r knowledge of the Kother l eads to a knowledge of the De i ty , consequently man should revorence the p recep t s of Ear th and never forget tha t he i s c l o s e l y l inked to her in a l l his f a i l u r e s and h i s successes . "And are we the ch i ld ren of Heaven and E a r t h , We ' l l be t r ue to the Mother with whom we a r e , So to be worthy of hirn a f a r , main Beckoning us on to a b r i g h t e r b i r t h . " The famous l i n e "wing our green to wed our blue" * i c h occurs in "Wind on the Lyre" i s a more condense express ion of the whole theory discussed in the foregoing paragraph, "Earth and I.^ an" goes on to t e l l how these two may der ive anfcR mutual benef i t from each other when the i dea l cond i t ions of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p are r e a l i z e d and "And o rde r , high d i s c o u r s e , And decency, than which i s l i f e l e s s dear She has of him; the l y r e of language c^Sf t Love's tongue and source , " That i s to say, tha t l f ian , through h i s soul expresses E a r t h ' s highest *type of l i fe '* - " E a r t h ' s b e s t " . Man in h is t u rn ge t s compensation for h i s g i f t to her , -"Of her he draws, Though bl ind to her by f e l l i n g a t her laws. Hex pures t f i r e s - t  " -71 "Her purest fires" represent the best qualities in man which we terra the spiritual essences in his make-up. Eart h is good to man ""but although she is just to him, she is never the indulgent mother. He r way may sometimes seem obsciire and even hard, but if man holds steadfastly to his faith in her, he will rapidly learn that her wisdom is best i "He may entreat aspire, He may despair and she has never heed, She drinking his warm sweat will soothe his need, Hot his desire." And her own desires for him are, "For happiness for lastingness, for light-. 'Tis she who kindles in his haunting night The hoped dawn -  rose. " The eighth phase of Meredith's philosophy might be cited as a proof of the contention made in the introduction, that was closely in touch with the thought of his century. H e was whole-hearted in his acceptance of the doctrine of Evolution end he evinced his deep interest in it by weaving the theory into his own "earth reading" in such a way as to make it peculiar to himself. W e have already seen that he believes that man must progress in his struggle of segregating the good elements of the universe from the bad. His insistence upon man's obligation to strive for the perfect union of the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual is little more than a special phase of Evolution. He goes farther than this, however, and states that Earth desires, Evolutionar y development and even takes "ai^L active part in forcing man along the path. Eart h he tells us, has two -72 different aspects, pain and easure , or Life and Death, and both have a common purpose. The y hscve been the forees instrumental in leading man up from his native savage sta^C to his present stage of development, and were "men of ©arth made wise in watchJ' they could not but have glad faith in, "that deep breast of song and light". The y would be convinced that she will continue to guide them to the highest point where they will come to see that Death is but her means of clearing the path to yet higher growth* "Her double visage, double voice, In oneness rise to quench the doubt This breath, her gift has only choice Of service, breathe we in ^*d out0 "Since pain and pleasure on each hand Led our wild steps from slimy rock T o yonde r sweeps of garden - land. We breath but to be sword or block." To some,Earth i s a lumpish senseless mass, to others she has no entity, but the clear brain will never fail to see that she not only has a being of her own but that she is the active, far-seeing force which is driving and guiding man to his Heaven. "The sighting brain her good decree Accepts; obey those guides, in faith By reason hourly fed, that she, To some the clod, to some the wraith-Is more, no mask, a flame, a stream, Flame, stream are we in mid-career, Prom torrent source, delirious dream, Tt> heaven - Reflecting currents clear. Any why the sons' of strength have been Her cherished offspring ever, how The spirit served by her is seen Through Law; perusing Love will show. Love born of knowledge, love that gains -7?-Vitality ae Earth it mates, The meaning of the Pleasures, Paine, The Life, the Death, illuminates," This reflection brings the poet to the triumphant knowledge that Death is only a preparation for a new and glad life, because •rerything in this world is but part of one and the sa, o great forward Evolutionary march, 'Tor love we Earth, then serve we all; Her mystic secre t then is ours* We fall, or view our treasures fall Unclouded as beholds her flowers Earth from a night o f frosty wreckj Enrobed in morning1s mounted fire, When lowly, with a broken neck, The crocus lays her cheek to mire." The poem entitled "Sense and Spirit" is nothing more than an elaboration of Meredith's evolutionary view of nature and the same view appears for the third time, in its concisest form In the last lines of "Hy Theme" -"I say but that this love of Earth reveals A soul beside our own to quicken, quell, Irradiate, and through ruinous floods uplift." This Revolutionary progress which is due to Earth's influence is so vital to Heredith's belief, that g he goes far enotlgh to make the statement that dissatisfaction and unhappiness will accrue to those who do not accept i t and act in accordance with it. Eart h can never be interpreted by those who allow the senses to overpower the seeing brain and the spirit, Suo h beings will derive nothing from Earth but cause for fear and superstition. If , however, they can learn to regard Earth as a spirit which is active for her children's advancement t o good they will readily find the hirhest ha-pinoss and satisfaction, " S a  mt ^» ^-re a a  T>r&etioa l illustration -74-of one who does not use his reason, the safeguard to Faith in all nature's workings. Her e the poet, forgetting for the moment the general plan of advancement, cries out in the midst of chilly autumn for just one warm light day. Suc h a desire for purely creature comfort is worthy of none but an undeveloped man, whcmlleredith stigmatizes as an "animal infant". 3 y steadily watching the Earth such a person can corae into closer contact with her truths and he will see, if he but watches the husbandman, how she works unfalteringly for the ultimate good. Wer e it not for her seasons of wise preparation the husbandman would have no craft. Instances of this sort confirm the poet himself in hie supreme faith in Evolutionary development. H e does not pretend to understand all the intermediary steps towards final achievement but Earth will be successful in her endeavor - I t is man's duty to trust in the nother -"Earth your haven, Earth your helm, You command a double re?lm, Laboring here to pay your debt, Till your little sun shall set. Leaving her the future taskJ J Loving her too well to ask ". J3af conviction that Death is a step in Evolutionary progress is put to its supreme test in "A Faith on Trial". Her e he ia taught to accept even the death of his beloved wife. A t firat in his grief, he is forgetful of nature's plan, but the sudden sight of a "young apparition", the wild cherry tree in bloom recalls all the tenets of his belief and the poem ends with an expression of his deep faith in earth's plans for steady 75 progression. Hi s suffering brings him into closer sympathy with humanity and he sees that life and Death must play an equal part in this existence. W e must not "strain to the farther shore" for God is reached by Earth's scheme of development and this will brook no interference. Eart h promises man that she will urge him en -"To behold High over time -  tumbled seaJ The bliss of his headship ox strife, Him through handmaiden me." "Change in Recurrence" marks the quiet return to his normal belief in progress after the stress and storm of "A Faith on Trial" has subsided. Th e culminating expression of steadfast belief in 4-»e*easin^ progress to which the grave is only the preliminary step, comes in the beautiful and famous passage wherein the poet speaks of his feelings when he contemplates his own death -"Great Hot her, Nature, teach me like thee To kiss the season and shun regrets. J And am I more than the ilother who bore Mock me not with thy harmony I Teach me to blot regrets, Great Ilother/ me XH^ jjirw inspire With faith that forward sets But feeds the living fire^ Faith that never frets For vagueness in the form In life, 0  keep me warm I For what is human grief? And what do men desire? Teach me to feel myself the tree, And not the withered leaf. Fixed am I and await the dark to—be I And 0, green beauteous Earth, BacchaSte Ilother, stern to those Who live not in thy heart of mirth; Death, shall I shrink from loving thee ? Into the breast that gives the rose^  Shall I with shuddering fall ? " -76-Further in the poem he recapitulates his insistent belief that Earth leads man from one stage of development t o another until at last, through her influence, he reaches the highest spiritual life. "She can lead xis, only she, Unto God's footstool, whither she reaches; Loved, enjoyed, her gifts must be, Reverenced the truths she teaches, *Ere a man may hope that he Ever can attain the glee Of things without a destiny. " That th e poet has surely grasped the "hoped dawn rose" of belief is proved in his splendid summation of evolution as applied to his nature creed, -"Behold #32H in you stripped Autumn, Shivering grey; Earth knows no desolation^ She smells regeneration, In the mois t breath of decay." To Meredith the voice of Earth is ever, "jubilant in ebbing life". The ninth and last phase of his nature philosophy is the logical result of the foregoing points which contribute their share to the whole. Meredit h has been able to derive some truth from every aspect of nature. I t is not in special "Roods or special places that Earth conveys her lessons to man, a true student of her can find ever-increasing indications of her message wherever he happens to seek for them. Th e color in a dawning is fraught with deepest meaning which intensifies its beauty for those who can detect its significance. Th e opening lines of the "Hymn to Colour" set forth the idea that life and -77-jQeath are counterparts which cannot exist apart from each other since both are due to the workings of Love. Lov e in man's life is the counterpart of color in nature - thu s the glory of color in dawn weights its beauty with the deepest possible significance. Th e effect of the moments in life which have been colored by love is a lasting and uplifting one and the sight of dawn renews their effectiveness* "ITor know they joy of sight, Who deem the wave of rapt desire must be Its wrecking anl last issue of delight Dead seasons quic en in one petal-spot Of colors unforgot. ThiB way have men come out of brutishness To spell the letters of the sky and read A reflex upon^arth, else meaning less. With thee 0 fount of the tmtimed' to l_e^ dj Drink they of thee, thee eying, they *»pged Shall on through brave wars waged. More gardens will they win than any lost* The vile plucked out of them, the unlovely slain^ Not forfeiting the beast with which they are crossed, To stature of the Gods will they attain, They shall uplift their Earth to meet her Lord Themselves the attuning chord I " A thoughtful reverie, £xx during a walk in the woods, can serve to convey an equally deep truth to the brain of the poet. H e reflects that belief in some from may come from contemplation "above", but he is convinced that, at best, this is apt to be but a fitful thing. Th e comfort to be derived from loving contemplation of the truth which "green earth" holds ready as soon as ever we turn to her, is always sure and steady. "Take up thy song from woods and fields Whilst thou hast heart, and living yields Delight; let that expire -Let thy delight in loving die, -7& Take thou thy song from s t a r and sky, And .join the s i l e n t q u i r e . I know tha t s ince the hour of b i r t h , Rooted in Ea r th , I have looked above, In Joy and in g r i e f , V/ith eyes of be l i e f , For love . A mother trains us "so, But the love I saw was a fitful thing; I looked on the sun That clouds or is blinding aglow; And the love around had more of wing Than substance, and of spirit none. Then follows the joyous contrast wherein we see that Ilother Earth never fails to answer all men's needs, "Then looked I on the green earth we are rooted in, thereof we grow, And nothing of love it said But gave me warning of sin And lessons of patience let fall, And told how pain was bred, And whereof I was weak, And of good and evil at strife, And the struggle upward of all, And my choice* o f the gx± glory of life* , Was love farther to seek ? " It is possible to continue selecting passages from one poem after another which serve as further illustrations of the fact that naturefs every aspect has a moral lesson for George "eredith. Finall y itV^ is advisable to examine a few of the passages which are in temselves a more or less complete summation of the whole of his nature philosophy. I t is permissable to do this after the separate phases which contribute to the final attitude have been examined - I n the latter part of "In the Woods" Meredith speaks of two attitudes to life -  the one he condemns as "lust of life" since all it craves is tangible proof of life's continuance. Th e second 7 9 -a t t i t u d e , he contends, i s the one which Ear th des i r e s her ch i ld ren to have, i t i s c a l l e d "love of l i f e " and xs i t s major element i s f a i t h i n n a t u r e ' s development» He c o n t r a s t s the two a t t i t u d e s in the l a s t ve r ses of the poem. "The lover of l i f e knows h is l abo r d i v i n e , And t h e r e i n i s a t peace, The l u s t a f t e r l i f e craves a touch and a sign That the l i f e shall, i n c r e a s e . The l u s t a f t e r l i f e in the c h i l l s of i t s l u s t Claims a passpor t of death The lover of l i f e sees a flame in our dust And a g i f t in our b r e a t h . " In t h i s connection the long poem e n t i t l e d "The Empty Pur se" , must be considered, not because i t conta ins any new phase of Meredi th ' s - ea r th theory , but because i t has often been sa id to conta in the whole concentra ted essence of h is phi losophy. The subject of the poem i s tha t of a young man who has l o s t a l l h i s wealth in the f i r s t bloom of h i s youth. Ins tead of condoling him,the poet says h e a r t i l y tha t i t i s the best th ing that could have happened to him, for now he w i l l have an oppor tuni ty to prove h is worth as a man. Struggle with pover ty , such as he has ahead of him, means nothing more than a s t r agg le with the laws governing E a r t h . Meredith th inks t h i s opportuni ty the "Summum bonum", because a contes t with Ear th is the sures t way to open the windows of the sou l . This fa l l to Ear th w i l l have the same potent e f fec t in t h i s c a s e , a s i t i s sa id to have had of old upon the g iant Antaeus, who could not be beaten when wres t l i ng s ince every time he f e l l and came in to contact with Ear th h i s s t r eng th was re-doubled. -80-"Strike Earthy Antaeus, young giant whom fortune trips I And thou com* St on a saving fact, To nourish thy planted worth ". Nature will be kind to the efforts of the young for she sympathizes with the eager experiments which they mg make. Sh e knows too, that it is precisely the lack of this quality which makes the old empediment to her scheme of eternal progress. "Precedents icily written op  high ; Challenge the Tentatives Sot to rebel. Our Mother who speeds her bloomful quick For the "Starch reads which the impediment well. She smiles when of sapience is their boast% 0 loose of the tug between blood run dry And blood running flame, may our offsrping run I " It is in this same psm poem that two of Meredith1s most famous and most characteristics lines occur -"Keep the young generations in hail, And bequeath them no tumbled house, This is the final urge of the spirit of Earth, the Innermost. "There hast thou the sacred theme, Therein the inveterat e spur, Of the Innermost." Every poem adds additional proof to the statement that nature is indissolubly woven into the basic principles of the poets belief by the simple fact of the prevelance of the pronoan "she". Thi s pronoun stands for "Mother Earth" and around "her" are built all the chief tenets of his creed; so that as we have seen a study of ITature in his works leads one inevitable and imperceptibly to a -81-consideration of his profoundest life theories. Tlhcn  these have been examined, it is found that he has left his readers a helpful and buoyant message pulsing with his own sincerity. He is honestly convinced that despite occasional caBes of sorrow and apparent injustice, on thw whole life is worth living. A s a greater number of people grow to realize this truth so life will become more worth the living. I f there is cause for complaint, is it not wiser and more constructive for man to fix his attention upon the many eauses he has for rejoicing? Jo y strengthens him to combat the evils he must face. I n "The Day of the Daughter of Hades", a practical example of this truth is developed. Here the young girl has but one short day upon Earth and she spends it royally allowing no regrets to spoil it, so^ j that when her father's gloomy chariot comes to carry her away, she has something of which she cannot be deprived—the memory of the satisfaction she has experienced. "And the silence about her smile Said more than of tongue is revealed^ I have breathedi I  have gazed; I  have been: It said^ an d not joylessly shone.^ The remembrance of light through the screen Of a face that seemed shadow and stone." Thus he teaches us, that if we live rightly and heartily our whole being in its compound of blood, brain and spirit, is made more keenly xs alive to joy and can experience )ds "Pleasure s that through blood run eane, jermain Quickenin g spirit from the brain"; And at every turn Despair will be cheated of his grip -82 upon us, if only we remember to cherish the edvice Ileredith has so eagerly and consistently offered to us throughout his works -pnent "This love of Liature, tha t a l l u r e s to take Irregularity for harmony, Of larger scope than our hard measures make. Cherish it as irkvqt  thy school, for when on thee The ills of life descend." -88-THE PHILOSOPHY OF r,.lU?J3 III TIIO:IAS KAHDY. like Meredith, Thomps Hcrdy has treated nature in two general aspects. '.7 e have seen in a foregoing chapter, how both men have scattered beautiful descriptive passages profusely throughout their books. The y are alike <n the second phase as well insofar as in both cases they have co-ordinated nature and their deepest beliefs. Bot h have a "philosophy of Nature". Thes e "philosophies" are widely different from eaoh other however^ I n the first place, Jt is more difficult to segregate the compnnent parts of Hardy's belief and examine them separately. Everythin g falls under the title of "pessimism", so that all this section purposes to do is to give varying instances of this attitude and attempt^ to trn.ee it, to some extent, throughout the course of his writings. Meredith exalts man and his mission^  Hard y presents an emphatic picture of the unending insignificance of man. Botji men present the eternal reality of nature but Hardy's impression is as far removed from the picture of Meredith'a "Great Mother", as it is possible for it to be. Natur e is never a benevolent mother to him, and it is from this that his pessimism developes. The scene is always an element of first importance with him. Sometime s he treats it, especially in his earlier work, in a poetic and idyllic fashion, as on escape from the tragedy of life -  the pastoral escape. Bu t more often he uses it with symbolical meaning, as in the well-known passage in the 84-"Woodlanders" where the warped trees are made to suggest the futile attempts and unrealized aims of human life. Sometime s he represents it as the embodimen t of the power which works man's humiliation. I n his human types he chooses those which are closest to nature for he holds that nothing is is so significant in man as race, sex and his great servitude to nature. I n his poetry as in his novels, he is concerned primarily with one thing and that is the principle of life itself seen visibly in the world as nature. H e has made the heath, the village, the fields and the roads of the English country side his own, and his knowledge of nature • derived therefrom has brought him close to the primal elements of the world. Burto n speaks of this characteristic and says that mother soil gives him his idiosyncracy his iter or and has strength. H e points out that when he shifts his scene to London as in the "Hand of Ethel -berta", and introduces sophisticated types he meets with comparative failure. He selected as his setting the south-west part of England (old Wessex, or Somerset shire) because he knew that part of England best and because he felt that the types of humanity and the view of life he wished to show could best be thrown against just such a primitive back ground. The general attitude then, which is fotuid in KardyTs works is that of a pessimist. Wha t he calls "the optimistic grin which ends a story happily", is nvverpresent in his work, and his tales end in compromise, in tacit acknowledgment tha t all -85-eary humanity can do is live on trying to make the best of what is essentially a had bargainer i n failure. Th e obvious quality of his tragedies is the insistent invasion into human consciousness of the general inevitable tragedy of existence, which, struggle as he vail, finally overpowers man and casts its unremitting gloom over all. Th e tremendousness of human fate is constantly implied and emphasized in the most impressive way. Burto n says again of him that Pate is to him that impersonal thing known as environment Vfhen this is allied with the temperament of his characters and with opportunity, an element of xa& luck it follows naturally that man is the sport of the Gods." " A Pair of Blue Eyes" presents this combination of circumstances and pictures a tragic outcome from it. In her article on Hardy, Anna IlcClure Scholl mentions this characteristic -"Acknowledging no creed this most modern of novelists is eminently Galvinistic in his portrayal of men and v/omen as Ld's t predestine d to misfortune or failure, as pulled or tossed erature . XII. about 3 at the impish pleasure of the God - Circumstance. Th e e 3 keynot e of his work indeed Is the effect of circumstance -of luck - upon man's war with the elements of nature. Som e foreordained event for which he is in no wise responsible turns the tide of the battle against him, yet he is held accountable for his defeat. H e reaps where he has not sown. He is overwhelmed with punishments for sms committe d by •86 others. H e is literally badgered through life by the devil of ill-luck. I n "A Pair of Blue Eyes" Elfride is victimized by circumstances. Th e adverse star is already risen above her brow when the book opens. Sh e goes, artlessly as a child into the hopeless labyrinth of mis-chance from which death alone can release her. Tes s is an innocent sinner browbeaten by badluck into a guilty one. S o persistent is this evil fortune, this malign spell which might be broken by a word more or less, that less becomes well nigh an irresponsible being a mere bruised flower floating on an irresistible- current of do om, • This aspect of life is the one which seems to have impressed Hardy most forcibly. I n the "Return of the Native" the hero again plays an uneven game with chance from the moment that Eustacia Vye influences him through love and he is stripped of his former stead-fast ambitions. Th e people of Hardy, as Stuart P.Sherman in his book "On Contemporary Literature" says, are pitiful antagonists of destiny. Th e intelligence of mortal beings seems wholly inactive in the combat. I n condemning the ways of God to man this "grim artist", seems obsessed by the idea that nature is conspiring to bring a helpless humanity to degredation and shame. Thi s is hardly to see life as a whole. The irony 4f circumstance is always present. Tes s -87-is the "modern classic of misfortune", that portrays the spirit-rending struggle of a maiden against the treacherous power of circumstance, destiny or nature. I n sc "Jude the Obscure, the hero is born under an evil star, his early ambition to go to Oxford is continually thwarted by his lower nature, and as always in Hardy, acci6-ent and chance take sides with the baser elements of his character, "Tess" mirrors this same cruel adversity of fate,while the history of Jude's taxfesx baffled aspirations seems as though fate were arguing with itself and experimenting with the problem of whether or no man's personal efforts have any final value -  shoul d they be aided or even unmolested; Wit h the outcome of this gloomy book we are forced to the conclusion that nature will asver be wholly alien and hostile to the noblest and to the meanest of human endeavor alike. "The lienor of Casterbridge" is the story of how a man pays for one hour of dissipation with a whole life-time of struggle and remorse and ends in grim failure. Th e strength of a single person is submitted to a contest with the indeviating process of impersonal event. Hi s spirit is pitted against the fatal energy of general existence or nature. Th e processes of outer nature, which are so carefully woven into the other tales with symbolic intent are absent in this book, but 'the story leaves the impression of the same characteristic attitude wherein the general sin of -8& personal existence and personal desire must be expiated to a universe of indifferent 4^ ate. B I n the poem "The Voice of Things" this supremely sardonic view of the existing order of things is summed icpac up in the lines: -"And I heard the waters wagging in a long ironic laughter At the lot of men and all the vapoury Things that be." The outstanding example of the influence of this implacable force in nature undermining all men's endeavours is the elaborate use made of Egdon ileath in "The Return of the Native". Th e tragic note is struck at the outset by a description of that vast tract of moorland whose spirit breathes over the whole story like an evil fate. Lascelle s AbelT^Srombie says that y thes e opening paragraphs show Hardy's strong persuasion to delight in the tragic ground -bass which his keenly civilized consciousness always hears accompanying the tune of the world". urn <r  The place became full of a watchful intentness now; f ative when other things sank brooding to Bleep the heath appeared Blowly to awake and listen. Ever y night it s Titanic form seemed to await something; but it had waited thus, unmoved, during so many centuries, through the crises of so many things, that it would only be imagined to await one last crisis - th e final overthrow". This shows the reader at once that Egdon Heath is not -89-to play the role of background in its usual sense, but it is to be a central SJEXXBH: actor in the drama through its potent influence upon the other characters. It s malignant power to dwarf and thwart the aspiring soul drives Eusfrcia and Clym to the final irretrievable disaster. Its dark potency issues forth to stain with inevitable tragedy the persons that move within ik its scope, and all the characters are totally unable to escape the grasp of its subtle compulsion. Wit h all its sights and sounds so vividly imagined, it presides over the whole action like a vast and careless oppression. Gloom and desolation are touched upon at once as it is presented on that first memorable Hovember evening. "The heath wore the appearance of an instalment of night which had taken up its place before the astronomical hour was ± H come; darkness had., to a great extent,arrived thereon, while day stood distant in the sky. Th e face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour to evening, it could, in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the frowning of storms scarcely generated, and inteseify the ^pacitf of a moonless midnight t o a cause of shaking and dread Th e sombre stretch of rounds and hollows seemed to rise and meet the evening gloom in pixre sympathy, the heath exhaling darkness as rapidly as the heavens ]m precipitated It Haggard Egdon appealed to a subtler and scarcer instinct, -90-to a more recently learned emotion, than that which responds to the eort of beauty called charming and fair", Hardy's deeply serious mind easily conceived that a setting like Egdon was the most graphic of all back grounds for the solemn interblending sasti  of the underlying pitilessness in the silent forces of nature end the futile forces set in motion by the human will. "Intensity was more usually reached by way of the solemn than by way of the brilliant and such a sort of intensity was often derived at during winter darkness,tempests and mists. Then^Sgdo n was aroused to reciprocity,for it maybe said that the storm was its lover, and the wind its friend. The n it became the home of strange phantoms; and it was found to be the hitherto unrecognized original of those wild regions of obscurity which are vaguely felt to be compassing us about in midnight dream s of flight and disaster and are never thought of after the dream until revived by scenes like this. It was at present a place perfectly accordant with man's nature - neither ghastly, hateful or ugly; neithe r commonplace, unmeaning nor tame; but, like a man, slighted and enduring, and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony. A s with its some persons who have long lived apart, solitude seemed to look out of its countenance. It had a lo^l y face, suggesting tragical possibilities. This suggestion of the ceaseless drifting power of fate which is simply indifferent to a struggling, vainly desiring -91-humannty, is elaborated .and worked out in all its significance throughout every page of the tragio novel. Hardy recognized as clearly as did Oeorge lieredith t truth in the conception of nature as a power which moulds the Characters end destinies of men*, hut unlike his contemporary, it was not 3c clear to him that "an impulse from a verj l^ wood" would always send a Peter Bell to church. I t seemed quite as lilcely that it would send a Jude to an Arabella, or a less to an Alec. T o him the idea of nature working for the moral aims of man is nothing but a "sweet Pantheistical illusion". Hi s insight into the relationship between the two is tragical. T o him concurrence by nature in the moral ends of man is utterly impossible^ and the convincing symbol of his grim belief is that of Tess swinging upon the gallows. Th e sardonic g final thought with v/hich he leaves Tess is that fete, that is to say, the force of nature, had played its Irst jest with this fair-souled country-lass. Natur e is used time and again as a power which reflects upon people of deep,simple character and is far more potent than the forces of the conventional world; bu t this is never a benevolent power, it is rather an ironic expression of supreme cosmic indifference to the petty j£ fate of man. A t times the -pimex  i s characterized by actual malignity. A s it blindly moves on its way, it may occasionally coincide with human law, but it always urges man on to the fulfillment of its own tendencies -92-irrespective of the disasters which may consequently befall them in the social order established and regulated by reason and foresight. Becaus e he is aware of this resolute power perpetually conflicting with the ±ma$K&TZi±  incessaiijb pressure of instinct, naturalism in his treatment attains to tragedy, LascellQs Abercrombie deals with this characteristic in his study of Hardy. H e sees a manifestation of the conflict between th e personal and the general in the types of humanity which are depicted in the novels. H e says that the sequestered humanity with which Hardy's greatest novels concern themselves is deeply impregnated with the impersonal common vigors of the Earth, Ho t only those are dyed by the surrounding circumstances of nature, who willingly know themselves immersed therein like Giles Winter-bourne, Gabriel Oak and Marty South; but those also who rebel against nature's possessing them like Eustacia Yye, Wildeve and Bathsheba, have the stain of it in their tissues, Thi s immersion of personality in the larger surrounding life of nature is more acutely felt by the reader when it appears in those who for all their rebellion, do not perceive how completely they are dipt. A  subtle hint of this is given in the signals used by EustaciflL and Wildeve, Sometime s they signalled to each other by means of throwing a stone into a pond in such a way as to sound like a hop-frog, late r Y/ildeve attracts the attention of the unconscious Eustacia to his presence outside her window by putting a moth through the chink of the lighted shutter so -93-that it flies into her candle and perishes. A  tragic S±3$HH± significance is ± evoke d by such ^ tt& as this. Eve n these characters seem to become helpless portions of, life's ruthless force and the elemental vigor of the earth floirs through them, even although it is against their desire and their consciousness. In all the books where such choracters are drawn unity is found by the general significance of personality forever movad to assert itself rgainst the impersonal, implacable drift of things,gaining thereby not the desired alteration of the unalterable but a keener consciousness of human destiny. Thi s is a kind of groundwork of earth which is common to all the purposive novels. In "IPar from the Madding Crowd" the tragedy has this essential element of the st unalterable \iniversal movement of the earth, the sightless substance, which does not and cannot take the petty endeavors of man into consideration; Th e second scene described in the book forms an admirable prelude to such a theme for it is a description of a night of stars,over the open heath-when it is almost possible to feel the earth swinging unalterably on its path through space. Th e nature description becomes symbolical at once. "The Sky was clear -  remarkably dear - and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse. Th e North Star was directly in the wind's eye,and since evening the Bear had swung roxuid it outwardly to the east, till he was now at a right angle with the meridian. A  difference of color in the stars - oftener read of than seen in Engltod --94-was really perceptible here. Th e kingly brilliance of Siriias pierced the eye with a steely glitter, the star called Capella yellow, Aldebran and Betelgueux shone with a fiery red. To persons standing alone on a hill on such c clear XH± midnight as this, the role of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement. Th e sensation may be caused by the panoramic glide of the stars past earthly objects, which is perceptible in a few minutes of stillness, or by the better outlook upon space which a hill affords, or by the wind, or by the solitude, but whatever be its origin the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding." In the face of such a sincere conviction of the blind relentlessness of the universe it is not possible for Hardy to preach a doctrine of faith akin to that of Lloredith. H e does not believe in questioning nature., that "she" which affords Meredith such comfort is an alien impersonal "It" to Hardy and it is useless to ouestion such an entity. I t can do no more than give back its own fruitless group of questions. the poem "Hap" which was written as early as 1866 this futile enquiry is summed up in one question -"How arrives it joy lies slaJ-THj And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? It seems inadequate to look for an explanation of the theory of a malignant power. Natur e herself can only question too -"Has some vast Imbecility, Mighty to build and blend, •95-But impotent to tend, Framed us in iest, and left us now to hazardry? Or come we of an Automaton, Unconscious of our pains ? Or are we live remains, Of Godhead dying downwards, brain and eye now gone ? Or is it that some high Pla n betides, As yet not understood, Of Evil stormed by Good, We the Forlorn Hope over which achievement stride s ? n - 9 6 -? B As he r e a s o n s a l o n g t h e s e l i n e s Hardy i s f o r c e d on to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t E a r t h \ i s n o t consc i o u s of any th ing t h a t V i s go ing on i n t h i s e x i s t e n c e . She i s l i k e one drowzed and t h e r e i s no remedy f o r t h e e x i s t i n g i l l s to v/hich man i s doomed as l o n g as^he c o n t i n u e s i n such a s t a t e . We a r e e x i s t i n g i n " v i s i o n l e s s w i l d s of space" with: no g u i d i n g s p i r i t wa tch ing over u s , and from the depths of h i s gloomy c o n v i c t i o n the p o e t c r i e s o u t : THE SLEEP WORKER — When wi l l thou wake 0 Mother, wake and see -As one, who held in t r ance , has labored long By vacant ro t e and prepossess ion s t rong -The c o i l s tha t thou has wrought unwi t t i ng ly . Wherein have place unrea l ized "by thee Fa i r growths, foul c a p e r s , r i g h t enmeshed With wrong, Strange o rches t ras of vic t im shr iek and song, And cur ious "blends of ache and ecs tasy? • Should t h a t day come .and show thy opened eyes All t ha t l i f e ' s p a l p i t a t i n g t i s s u e f e e l , How w i l t thou hear t h y s e l f in thy su rp r i se? f i l l thou destroy in one wild shock of shame Thy whole high-heaving firmamental frame, Or p a t i e n t l y ad jus t , amend^and hea l?" As the l a s t verse p l a i n l y shows Hardy i s so far from f a i t h in nature t ha t he even ques t ions the p o s s i b i l i t y of i t ever arousing i t s e l f to attempt redemption, even in the remote contingency of i t s a t t e n t i o n being d i rec ted to human i l l s . I t seems equal ly probable to him that such a s p i r i t would destroy a l l r a t h e r than take the t rouble to adjust cond i t ions . -97-When t h i s 'becomes evident to him, h i s immediate conclusion i s tha t the old Greek noets were co r r ec t when they held t h a t t he hes t l o t of a l l i s not to he and hadAthe opportuni ty to reach the ear of the unborn he would give them jus t such counsel . In h i s l a t e r poems, which give the most d i r e c t s tatement of h i s philosophy he t r e a t s t h i s thought . As he r e f l e c t s upon the "ghosts whose mould l i e s around and below", he s a y s : -"Perhaps they speak to the yet unborn, And caution them not to come ping To a world so ancient and t r o u b l e - t o r n l i t e c t - Of foi led i n t e n t s , vain loving-kindness* in an And ardours c h i l l e d and numb." Hin i s -In such, a conception the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the Deity i s regarded in snts a cvnical manner. I f the Deity made .darth he has evident ly C Lon f o r g o t t e n about i t or i s simply w a t c h i n g i t s b l i n d endeavors as a source of amusement, *"What do you t h i n k of i t (earthfl) Moon, the As you go? a I s l i f e much or no?* '0, I think of it, often think of it ents of A s a show^ ion. Go d means surely to shut up soon As I gO« *" In a more hopeful mood he reflects that the earth represents nothing more reprehensible tha n a mistake on the part of the Deity. S o in "I travel as a phantom now ", he says:-"I travel as a phantom now For people do not wish to see In flesh and blcod so hare a bough As nature makes of me. And thus I visit bodiless Strange gloomy households often at odds, - 9 8 -And wonder i f Man's consciousness 7/as" a mistake of Cod 's" The most op t imis t i c r e f l e c t i o n to which he has given voice comes in "The 'Blew", wherein he admits t h a t nerhans in some future time the p a l l of unconsciousness may ho l i f t e d and the Deity w i l l he grieved to think of what su f fe r ing has b oen pe rmi t t ed , "Time's f ingers should have s t r e t ched td> show Eo aimful a u t h o r ' s was the "blow That swept us prone But the _Firmanon4 Dper 's t h a t dost not know, Which in some age unguessed of us May l i f t i t s "blinding incubus, And 3Qe } and own: I t g r ieves me I did thus and thus I* " There i s no counterpar t to Meredi th ' s theory of the s p i r i t u a l comJTrrt to be derived from communion with n a t u r e , in the works of Thomas Hardy; nature as an inf luence which can soothe the mind of man and modify h i s pass ions so as to give him peace, i s far outs ide the l i m i t of h i s comprehension. The soothing force of the J a r t h Mother which u p l i f t s Meredi th ' s soul in hor presence to ac tua l prayer and charms h i s i n t e l l e c t in to a suspension of i t s graver 9&£££x f l eaving only love and joy i s pov/erless before the deep-rooted d i s b e l i e f of "ardy. Nature has given him a deeper wisdom than books and schools can ever give but even she has not been able to i n s p i r e him to b e l i e f i n her moral i ty and v i r t u e . He i s engrossed in na ture but der ives no comfort from he r . - 9 9 -Teturo i n al*n; s fy-plcjo d I n »  i « p o . - r f ; l norols . T " t a used dramaticall y wr.o n I t i s -Jid o th o appropriat e hackgrsun d and accompanimen t o f huma n U f a an d i t r.lnrle a *lt h *.h o thought an d aot lcn . Thor o l a alway s a  cloa a in ter -rolat lon botwoo n hi s charaotor a an d natur e th a fatefu l forco . '•ta I n Hardy' s Traged y ha s aoaetlno a boo n c r i t i c i s e d a s a s o r t o f s l n l s t o r lntowforonc a I n whic h th o Ide a l a on « o f a aor t o f superna l forc e a n Jo: log l t a l e i sur e b y dollburatol y wrecking huma n happiness . Fst e rea l l y l a th a genera l moaaureloaa proces s o f o  3d at once wherei n a l l ao t l r l t y l a / Included* I t oare s nothin g I n workin g I t s e l f out , fo r th a needs an d des i re s o f lndlridua l ex i s tence . I n th o lon g ru n the lndlridua l mus t obe y th o general . Th o mai n atrear a o f tendency ba a th e ultimat a power . Huma n doalr e muat ( a t boa t be a n Irony , an d whe n completel y wrough t Int o l t a e r t l s t l o form b y Thoma a Hardy , I t mus t b e a  trepedy . W e norer foa l hla character s t o b o I n a  purel y huma n wcrld . Thor o l a always tb e Immens e backgroun d o f measureles s fot e proceaces , a aorln g supportin g darknosc , nor e o r los s apparen t bu t always f e l t . Thi s producu a a  s tr ik in g o f foot o f a paaslonats lntr loat e huma n eren t throw n l n t i csntrae t wit h the s impl ic i t y an d dellberatenea s o f th e earth . The backgroun d o f natur e aeem a t o e x l a t chie f l y a a a spectacular rarlat lo n o f huma n moods , an d ye t th i s natur e which supplie s th e backgroun d ala o hold s th a huma n actio n In so lut ion . Traged y I s th a Inerltabl e answe r t o . -100-persona l l ty ' s s e l f assert io n agains t th i s inporsona l power, lurkin g i n th e background . iixamples o f kinshi p i n moo d betwee n humanit y an d surrounding natur e ma y b e se lec te d fro m almos t an y novel , bu t i n thi B phase , a s i n a l l others , th e bes t examples see m t o com e invariabl y fro m th e sam e smal l grou p of outstandin g book s whic h ha s alread y bee n quoted , an d requoted i n th i s study . On e suc h notabl e passag e i s th e description o f Melcheste r o n a  snow y evening : "It wa s a  nigh t whe n sorro w ma y com e t o th e br ightes t without causin g an y grea t sens e o f incongruity : when , wit h Impressible person s lov e become s s o l i c i t o u s n e s s , hop e sink s t o misgiving, an d fa i t h t o hope ; whe n th e exercis e o f memor y does no t s t i r f ee l ing s o f regre t a t opportunitie s fo r ambitions tha t hav e bee n passe d by , an d anticipatio n doe s not promp t t o enterprise" . The elaborat e descriptio n o f a  thunde r stor m whic h occur s in th e sam e nove l an d v.'hic h wa s quote d i n anothe r connectio n i s obviousl y treate d wit h suc h minut e car e i n orde r t o assure th e e f fect ivenes s o f i t s culminatio n i n a  c r i s i s of emotio n betwee n Gabrie l an d Bathehewa . I n "Th e Retur n of th e Native" , th e broken-spirite d Mrs . Yeobrigh t i s mad e to f e e l kinshi p betwee n herse l f an d th e desolat e l i f e o f th e waste apao e kno m a s th e "Devil' s Bellows" ? ' - 1 0 1 -k 17 "The t r e e s "beneath v/hich she s a t were s ingu la r ly "battered, v rude and wi ld , and for a few moments Mrs. Yeobright dismissed thoughts of her own storm-broken and exhausted s t a t e to contemplate t h e i r s . ITot a hough in the nine t r e e s which composed the group hut was s p l i n t e r e d , lopped and d i s t o r t e d "by the f i e r c e weather t h a t had held them a t i t s mercy whenever i t p r e v a i l e d . Some were b l a s t ed and s p l i t as i f by l i g h t n i n g , black s t a i n s as from firemarking t h e i r s i d e s , while the ground at t h e i r fee t was strewn with dead s t i c k s and heaps of cones blown down in the gales of pas t y e a r s . The place was c a l l e d D e v i l ' s Bellows and i t was only necessary to come there on a Maroh or November n igh t to discover fo rc ib l e reasons for t h a t name. On the p resen t heated af ternoon, when no pe rcep t i b l e wind was blowing the t r e e s kepj up a pe rpe tua l moan which one could hardly bel ieve to be caused by the a i r " . The same a r t i s t i c sense of f i t n e s s leads Hardy to dep ic t the f i n a l ca tas t rophe of the November n igh t during a v i o l e n t ra ins torm, which makes the upheaval in nature correspond to the over turning of the l i v e s of a l l the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s . As the unhappy Eustacia s t a r t s across the heath V to meet Hlldeve we are to ld t h a t : "Ski r t ing the pool she followed the path towards Black-barrow, occasional ly stumbling over twis ted f u r z e - r o o t s , t u f t s of rushes , or oozing lumps of fleshy fungi, which a t t h i s season lay s c a t t e r e d about the heath l i k e the r o t t e n -102-liver and lungs of some colossal animal. The moon and stars were closed up by cloud and rain to the degree of extinction. I t was a night which led the traveller 's thoughts instinetifrely to dwell on nocturnal scenes of disaster in the chronicles of the world Eustacia at last reached Blackbarrow and stood s t i l l there to think. Never was harmony more perfect than that •between the chees of her mind and the chaos of the world without". "The Woodlanders" are placed under the dominance of a much-more kindly aspect of nature than is usual hut the dominance is scarcely less masterful. All t&e villagers are drenched "by the subtle influences of the surrounding woods. Melbury's anxious fears for his well-educated daughter are an indirect expression of this fact. His innate consciousness of the formidable assimilating power of the Earth is shown in his aJUnX quaint remark, "We, living here ebov-e don't notice how the whitey-brown creeps out of earth over us". The book is full of the most profound penetration of humanity by nature. The most obvious instance is the strange link between the life of John South and that of a tree. He protests, "I could bear up, I know I could, if i t were not for the tree - yes, the tree, » ' t i s that 's killing me V/henever the wind blew as i t did now the tree rocked naturally enough; and the sight of i ts motion and sound of its sighs, had gradually bred the terrifying illusion in the w<apdmanr's m i r i d . -103-Thus he would sit all day, in spite of persuasion watching its every sway and listening to the melancholy Gregorian melodies which the air wrung out of it. This fear it apparently was, rather than any organic disease, which was eating away the health of John South". Marty South and Giles Winterbourne in.their acquiesence in the impersonal life that has them in its power, give the book its special quality. Thes e two have the chief share Hardy's of the elements of/tragedy, that unyielding personal desire mixed with a sense of the frustrating impersonal life carrying them forward, are the very characters whom events most severely punish. Fro m working among the trees, the two of them have a vast common knowledge of nature's ways. Mart y notices that the young pines begin to sigh as soon as they are held upright and says quaintly that it must be that "they sigh because they are sorry to begin life in earnest". Grace Melbury i s less keenly attuned to the minutest aspects of nature but she responds quic :ly to the influence of the woodland around her as che  flee s away from her home at the advent of her faithless husband. Th e woodland around her faithfully mirrors the wierd sensations of terror which she experiences. ^She leaves overhead were now in their latter green -so opaque that it was darker at some of the densest spots -104 than in winter time^ Scarc e a crevice existing "by which a ray could get down to the ground. Summe r was ending-in the daytime, singing insects hung in every sunbeam: vegetation was heavy nightly with globes of dew; and after showers creeping damps and twilight chills came up frcm the hollows. The plantations were always wierd at this hour of evening - more spectral far than in the leafless season when ther e were fev/er masses and more minute lineality. The smooth surfaces of glossy plants came out like weak lidless eyes; there were strange faces and figures from expiring lights that had somehow wandered into the canopied obscurity; while"now and then low peeps of the sky between the trunks were like sheeted shapes, and on the tips of boughs sat faint cloven tongues". In the same way the scenery of Tess is made obedient to the whole emotional process. Th e descriptions are done with a minute intensity that builds up a spacious background of Iving earth. Onl y "The Return of the Llative" has its action placed as grandly as^this tale. Th e setting alters with the progression of the emotional tenseness of the story, turning bleaker and harsher as the tragic stress deepens. The relentless onward movement of the conflict between the perennal and the impersonal is vitally connected with the natural setting. Th e different phases of the narrative -105-are successfully bound to the most significant of scenes. 3)he first incidents which are connected, with the happiest time of Tess's life, are enacted during the flowery months of May and June in the pleasant Froome valley, then comes retribution in the bare and stony Flintcomb Ash farm - Tess's second lapse attended by more revolting circumstances and her lurid vengeance take their color from the unsympathetic, turgid surroundings of fashionable Sandbourne. Th e final scene of the dramatic capture is graphically pictured at Stonehenge and Tess is compared to one of the victims who first suffered in this spot. The wisdom which Jarth can give is discovered in the unconscious humour and common sense of the immortal peasants of the Wessex novels. Suc h scenes as that of the serenade by the local Church Choir and that of the opening of the vault by the rustics in #A Pair of Blue Jyes" have given Hardy the reputation of approaching the power of Shakespeare in this respect. Th e primitive peasants are distinguished by their quaint humor, their wisesaws and their unalterable hold upim Earth . Al l the entertainment which Hardy gets out of life comes to him from his contemplation of the peasant as a rooted part of the earth, translating the dumbness of the fields into humor. H e has a truly Shakespear-ian sense of their placid vegetation by the side of hurrying animal life to which they seem to act the part of chorus -106 ;he W>. Hears the orm »oted urns B i p 8 0 aotod with a n unconsciou s wisdo m derive d fro m thei r c los e undistraoted vie w o f earth . The hos t example s o f Hardy' s b e l i e f s ar e t o b e foun d in h i s pros e works ; i n th i s respec t h e i s unlik e 'Jereditl u He som e time s too k th e subject s o f h i s novel s an d tre e te d them i n vers e bu t neve r withou t l o s s o f power . ?o r th i s reason th e moB t representativ e quotation s com e fro m hi s prose* Howeve r hi s poetr y repeat s hi s pess imist i c vie w a s cons is tent ly a s doe s hi s prose . I t to o tether s u s c l c s e to a  Go d -forgotte n tainte d b a l l . Poe m afte r poe m r e i t e r a t e s tha t t h i s poo r scen e o f ou r earthj y l i f e i s a "show" whic h Go d ough t t o shu t soo n ,  the WWWtV*. .dream-wor k of som e vas t Tmbeoilit y tha t spend s eternit y i n pcssiv e reverie o r remorse , tha t frame d ou r plane t i n Jest; " Tha t I mad e eart h an d l i f e an d ma n i t s t i l l repentet h me" . Hature i s nothin g mor e tha n a  sleep-worker , bus y i n he r handsome hous e know n a s space ; sh e ha s fa l l e n a-drowz e and man' s onl y sur e rewar d fo r a l l h i s hope s an d aspiration s i s tha t "storm-tigh t r o o f whic h "earth front s a l l he r kin d " , Hardy i s to o grea t a n imaginativ e philosophe r t o tr y t o answer th e f ina l r i d d l e , h e onl y ask s an d asks : Thy Shado w £8rth , fro m pol o t o Centra l Sea * Now s t e a l s alon g upo n Mocn' s >pa k ahin e In eve n monochrom e an d curvin g l in e Of imperturabl e sereni ty . HOw s h a ll I  l in k suo h sun-oas t symmetr y With th e tora ^ troubled for m I  kno w a s thin e fcJt. -107-That profile, placid as a brow divine, With continents of moil and misery? And can immense Mortality but throw So small a shade?" "The Dynasts", a huge unwieldiig drama is the greatest <*wssummation of all the philosophy which is scattered through the novels. It is a dramatic study, in prose and in verse of the Napoleonic Wars. It s immensity is such that it contains no less than nineteen acts and one hundred and thirty scenes. I t is an attempt to crowd into one work the sum total of his mundane philosophy in puppet guise. Th e outstanding result is not so much a revelation of tfapoleon as a revelation of Hardy himself. History, contemporary gossip, elemental forces an d fate are all blended together. Choruse s and semi-choruses reveal the unseen forces that move behind the current of life and it gains what unity it has from its consistent lack of Optimism. In the Preface, Hardy tells us that his subject is " the doctrines of impersonated abstractions that are but the tentative attempts to lift the burthen of the mystery of the unintelligble world". The primary single energy presented is the "Will" of the Universe, which is in no wise concerned with the joys and agonies of the existence it causes. • No God could loom more phantasmal and remote from our trivial and agonizing affairs than this "All Immanent ftaDHSHroat Wil l " , t h a t dr ives us into the world in "rabble rou t " and mutters in slumber or mocks at the "monotonous moil of s t r a i n e d , hard-run humanity ". -108-Shade of Sarth: "What of the Immanent Will and its designs? n Spirit of Years: It works unconsciously as heretofore, Eternal artistries in Circ-umstance Whose patterns wrought by rapt aesthetic rote, S§em in themselves Its single listless aim, And not their consequence". Spirit of Pities: "Voiceless , viewless b u r n e r of the I t t ieel?" S p i r i t of Years: "Notching appears of shape to ind ica te That cognizance has marshalled th ings terrene, Or w i l l (such i s my thinking) in ^ j f span. Rather they show t h a t l i ke a k n i t t e r drowzed, Whose f ingers play in s k i l l e d unmin^d—fulness, The Will has woven with an ahsent heed Since l i f e f i r s t was, and ever so ' t w i l l weave". S p i r i t of Ea r th : "Yet know I am but &n ineffectxvar Shade Of her the T r a v a i l l e r , h e r s e l f a t h r a l l * To I t ; in a l l her labor ings curbed and Ringed.' " S p i r i t of Years: fT ,Tis not in me to fee l with or aga ins t , These f lesh-hinged mannikins I t s hand upwinds To c l i ck -c l ack off I t s preadjusted laws" S p i r i t S i n i s t e r : "For i f my casual scorn, Father Years, should s e t thee t r y i n g to prgnrire prove tha t there i s any rhyme or reason in the Universe, thou w i l l not accomplish i t by Doomsday^.. Throughout the huge drama such choruses as these are in t e r spe r sed between the scenes in which human f igures take p a r t , and wherever they occur throughout the whole -109-length of the piece, they are made to embody the same group of ideas. "So the Will weaves through space and moulds the times With Mortal8 for I ts fingers.1 Tie shall see Again men's passions, virtues, visions, crimes, Obey resistlessly, The purposive, unnoticed dominant Thing, Which sways in brooding dark, their way-faringJ " Other significant terms applied to this force as i t is discussed again and again throughout the work are these: "Immense folW&4*mULnQL nt "All-urging './ill", '"deft manipulator^ of the Slide", and "the Great Unshaken". In the closing lines the chorus of Pities is made to express a hope that this "Immanent Will" that "Neither Good nor Evil knows" may wake and understand. God's education must be briught about by men, for God is without,pity, plan or purpose and is even capable of this utterance, "Strange that ephemeral creatures who By my own ordering are Should see the shortness of my view, Use Ethic tests I never knew Or mai^ e provision for! " Search as we may through Hardy's poetry and prose, his philosophic interpretation of Earth and Ilature affords no hint of better comfort than what has been cited here. The one conclusion which can be derived from the heaped-up evidence is the in i t i a l one in this chapter, that in all senses of the word, Thomas Hardy embodies the -110-pessimistic vieY/point in temperament, conviction and creed. Hi s genius alone preserves enough "balance of Art to keep this overmastering tendency fro m marring all that he has done. It is to his unerring sense of artistry that thanks are due, in every case his morbidit y does itot get the upper hand and result in such depressingly sombre stories as "Jude the Obscure". -111-A GENERAL ESTIMATE OF HARDY AND MEREDITH. It appears that the sum-total of the evidence yielded "by a study of the different aspects of the work of Hardy and of Meredith leads to one general statement. Both started with the general premises which they derived from their observation of and reaction to the external world and its history, yet the conclusions at which they arrived are as widely separated as it is possible for them to be. A s is so often the case with great writers, the two men were contemporaries arid were subjected to exactly the same influences and trends of thought, yet their con-stitutional variance resulted in an interesting example of how general beliefs and interests can find directly opposing expression when translated by contrasting person-alties. Othe r great pairs of novelists who have illus-trated this fact are Richardson and Fielding, Scott and Jane Austen, and Dickens and Thackeray. I n this case Hardy reaches a fatalistic pessimism which offers a strong contrast to the buoyant optimism which is attained by George Meredith. This contrast is directly due to their respective attitudes to life. Firs t of all Meredith had a genial robust delight in life - he wasfond of violent exercise himself and he made the men and women of his novels re-fleet \his heartiness. Consequentl y they are all fond of exercise. Me n and women excel at walking, riding and swimming; ther e is a ffank delight in good eating, the -112-men are stro»g drinkers of the good wine which is always abundant in the novels, Hardy , while tenderly sympathetic and responsive to joyousness in others, 3eems to have no geniality of his own and no conception of actual joy in life. H e feels sure that tears follow laughter On every occasion, and it is on this bitter aftermath that he con-tinually focuses his gaze. From such temperaments it follows naturally that the second phase of variance should be their opposing con-ceptions of man's relation to Fate. Meredith' s human beings are undaunted, they are never passive instruments of this thing, Fate, for he is sure that they can nobly conquer heredity and environment. I t is part of their duty to develop* into masters of their own destiny and he insists upon their power to struggle and to gain control over the impersonal forces of existence. To Hardy, this is an impossibly assertive outlook; nothing can shake his inmost determination that man is a vain puppet, a bit of a vast machine which is resistless in its tendencies, and whih punishes any ivuhile attempt at resistance. In Hardy's belief man is unable, overwhelmed by V, the huge, ruthless currents of Sature, to avoid his very acts; i n that of Meredith his course of action can be determined by hiijself alone, but the one thing he cannot avoid is the consequence of his acts when they are wrong. This is brought out in the former case by "The Return of -115-The Native" or by "Jude the Obscure", and in the latter by "Rhoda Fleming" and by the "Ordeal of Richard Eeveral". Neither author denies the existence of the baser elements in man's nature; indee d this is one of Hardy's chief concerns; bu t to him it seems that men and women, entangled as they are in webs of circumstance, are invariably the prey of their desires, aspirations or follies. They are racked and cheated from spiritual development by every conceivable form of mischance. Th e novels are in-escapably overcast with the precariousness of man's hold on the spiritual, for he is always represented as being at the mercy of his lower nature. Meredith' s genius was profoundly spiritual and he accepted the earthly facts because he believed that the spirit expressed itself through the body. I n a letter to his son written in 1888, he said: "I have written always with the perception that there is no life but of the spirit; tha t the concrete is really the shadowy; ye t that the way to spiritual life lies in the complete unfolding of the creature, not in the nipping of his passions. A n outrage to Mature helps to extinguish his light. T o the flourishing of the Spirit, there, through the healthy exercise of the senses". This explains Meredith's contempt for asceticism. In education and in temperament Meredith was decidedly un-English. Th e only English author withwhom his style has anything in common is Carlyle, who was also -114-inspired "by the Germans. Meredit h had a towering ad-miration for Carlyle and like him was more interested in th^netaphysics of passion than in passion itself. Hi s novels were the product of speculative thought and of the accurate observation of an original and powerful thinker. Hardy, on the other hand, is paramountly English, he never attempts other than insular subjects, his settings are England herself. I n scenes within doors and without, in landscape, in times, lights and seasons, in Englishness he is incomparably rich. Th e stately inevitable march of his tragedies has been compared to the tragedies of the Greeks, but beyond this special phase he shows no influence of anything but English viewpoints and English modes of expression. Meredith is often obscure; th e force of his personality and the unconventionality of his mode of ex-pression show the master mind but not the master of English prose. W e are often conscious, especially in the latter works, of how the author's magnificent intellectua l endow-ments obtrude upon the vehicle of his expression much to the detriment of clearness and beauty. H e convinces his readers that neither stimulating thought nor startling originality of diction can take the place of clear express-ion. Hard y never displays this weakness. H e also is a master mind but his is a masterly style as well. Critic s frequently express the opinion that his early training in-fluenced his writings and resulted in the perfect structure -115-and "beautiful clearness which they have termed "architectonic" Some criticisms have "been levelled at "The Dynasts" for its obscurity, but this is due rather to the immensity of the subject and to the fact that it sums up all Hardy's theories, than to any intrinsic faults in style. The last and not the least important point of contrast between the two novelists is the different degrees of popularity attained by them. Contrar y to a natural supposition, it was the pessimist and not the optimist who commanded attention from the reading public. Meredith' s fame is still vastly inferior to Hardy's. Thi s is due to his obscurities of style, to a large extent, and to the fact that the increasingly gloomy tone of the Wessex novels was an appeal in itself to the mood of the later nineteenth century, a mood of weaifiess and reaction from moral strenuousness, of lack of interest in questions of con-science. Thi s tendency found its natural outlet in the romantic escape offered by the next genius to appear, Robert Louis Stevenson. To sum up the general estimate Meredith's formula offerB strong contrast to that of Hardy. I n Meredith's view of life man is all-important. Th e works of man, his society, his conventions, his expressions of himself are the great facts of the world. Ma n is indeed,held down and sacrificied by his own perverseness and by that of his fellows; bu t he can rise against this,attack it and overthrow it, or die valiantly in the attempt. Th e struggle -116-of humanity is one of man with men, and it is always capable of yielding glorious victory. Thi s hope gives ightness to all of Meredith's books, even to the most tragic. I n Hardy's world, on the other hand, man is of the smallest importance; th e study of man's intellect and of his works will never bring us nearer to the secret of the universe to the essential reason or unreason of things. A man is not held, thwarted and insulted by his fellows only; hi s warfare is not chiefly with them; th e perver-sity of his lot is not wholly of their making. I t is rather of the very nature of the world into which he is born, a world full of the irony of circumstance. I t is true, human beings are often the vehicles of that irony, but we cannot say that Hardy's heroes are conquered by human opponents. The y fall before they can come to close quarters with the enemy. Jud e the Obscure, checked in his ambition for scholarship cannot get atthe man behind the system which damns him. H e can only write bitter words on the outside wall of the college which refuses him ad-mittance. Thu s Hardy's world is without an element of healthful hopeful combat. Lif e is tragic by hypothesis; the irony of circumstance is a recognizable element in the metaphysical constitution of the world. Ofte n the oper-ations of this time spirit are humorous, with a grim con-temptuous humor that is as bitter as its malice: bu t in Hardy's later works the tragedy is not lightened even by this devilish play. A t the end of "Tess" he does indeed -117-call the work of "Time the Arch-Satirist" with Teas a joke, "but we cannot help feeling that it has "been all along a matter of hitter earnest. In contrast with the ephemeral importance of man Hardy presents the eternal reality of nature. Wit h him the scene is an element of first importance, essential in the development of the story. Sometime s he treats it in a poetic and idyllic fashion, as an escape from the tragedy cf life "but this is only in his early pastoral works. Mor e often he uses it with symholical meaning as when he makes the warped treas in the "Woodlanders" the sign of unfulfilled human aspirations. I t is noteworthy that he chooses the most primitive types of humanity as closest to nature, for in them impulses are strongest and action is the natural mode of expression. Meredit h draws his characters from the walks of life where men and women are most complex, where thought is most active. I n Hardy's view thought is as futile a medium to the underlying truth as was the tower of Babel for its purpose. I n his "belief in the significant, Meredith is continually heightening the individual, pushing his characters beyond human limits! Hard y holds that nothing in man is significant except sex and nature's dominion and he chooses the types which will present these realities most clearly. It must not be imagined that there are no points of contact between the two writers, however. They'ha.v e some few points of similarity, minor considerations it is -118-true, but such as they are they should not be entirely over-looked. In the first instance they were contemporaries and they both reflect the main trends of thought of the nineteenth century. The y both accepted the theories of Rousseau, Zola and Darwin although they translated them into different con-clusions. Bot h were original and powerful thinkers and both were pagans. Nowher e does either of them give any orthodox religious teaching, while of the two Hardy is the completest pagan. Thei r real emphasis is on this life and on man's con-duct in the present world. An y mention of an orthodox God is as rare as it is vague, all the men and women whom they have created seem to get along somehow without any religion. Meredith is the greater theorist, moralist and teacher, although the pagan doctrine of the later books where the instincts of the heart seem superior to lav/, is rather dangerous. Am*S£aieave s her husband for no better reason than that she prefers another man and in so doing destroys any teaching which the book might possess. Bu t he cherished a wholesome contempt for selfishness and launched a great campaign against it in "The Egoist" and in "Richard Fe&ral". In this respect and in his consistent teaching of faith and hope he far outshines Hardy as a messenger of vital truth. Hardy is, however, the greater novelist, as such. His is the greater perfection of constructive power, and his the most splendid style as the beautiful stately march of the narrative in "Far Prom the Madding Crowd" shows. Hi s people -119-have a touch of universality - they would catch our interest under any circumstances. Thi s is not true of Meredith's personages. The y are interesting only in the midst of their own groups. Wer e they transplanted from their especial sphere they would become mere lay figures - type studies. All Hardy's folk are human hut it is only occasionally that Meredith gives us a living pulsing being such as Clara Middleton. Despite his superiority in special phases Hardy must take second place in regard to his teaching. Th e only fundamental truth which we can derive from him is that pessimism may be helpful, inasmuch as it takes away any illusory hopes - those who hope for nothing can nsver be disappointed. Thi s is not of much value as a basic truth and it leads us to re-echo Meredith's remark made in a letter in which he discussed Hardy.-"I am afflicted by his twilight view of life". The last point of contact bety/een the two men came in the form of a tribute from Hardy upon the occasion of Meredith's death,-George Meredith. "Forty years back when much had place, That since has perished out of mind, I heard that voice and saw that face. He spoke as one afoot will wind A morning horn 'ere men awake; His note was trenchant turning kind. He was of those whose wit can shake And riddle tothe very core, The couterfeits that Time will break-- . -120-Of late, when we two met once more, The luminous countenance and rare Shone just as forty years "before. So that, when now all tongues declare His shape unseen "by his green hill, I scarce "believe he sits not there! No matter! Furthe r and further still Through the world's vapourous vitiate air His words wing on - as live words will." Upon the same occasion Sir James M.Barrie gave a symbolical expression to the same idea of^true immortality i "being attained "by one who had laboured so sincerely and faithfully to give the world a helpful message. 22, 1909. Th e Day, As they Say, Of His Funeral. "All morning there had been a little gathering of people outside the gate. I t was the day on which Mr. Meredith was to "be, as they say , buried. H e had been, as they say, cremated. Th e funeral coach came, and a very small thing was placed in it and covered with flowers. On e plant of the wallflower in the garden would have covered it. Th e coach, followed by a few others, took the road to Dorking, where, in familiar phrase, the funeral was to be, and in a moment or two all seemed silent and deserted, the cottage, the garden, and Box Hill. "The cottage was not deserted, as They knew who now trooped into the round in front of it, their eyes on the closed door. The y were the mighty company, his children, Lucy and Clara and Rhoda and Diana and Rose and Old Mel and Roy Richmond and Adrian and Sir Willoughby and a hundred others, -121-and they stood in line against the boxwood, waiting for him to come out. Eac h of his proud women carried a flower, and the hands of all his men were ready for the salute. "In the room on the right, in an armcnair which had been his home for years - to many the throne of letters in this country - sat an old man, like one forgotten i n an empty house. Whe n the last sound of the coaches had passed away he moved in his chair. rie wore gray clothes and a red tie, and his face was rarely beautiful, but the hair was white and the limbs were feeble, and the wonder-ful eyes dimmed, and he was hard of hearing. H e moved in his chair, for something was happening to him, and it was this: ol d age was falling from him. Thi s is what is meant by Death to such a3 he, and the company awaiting knew. His eyes became again those of the eagle, and his hair was brown, and the lustiness of youth was in his frame, but still he wore the red tie. "He rose, and not a moment did he remain within the house, for "Golden lie the meadows, golden run the streams, and fields and waters shout to him golden shouts", "He flung open the door, as they knew he would do who were waiting him, andhe stood there looking at them, a General review ing his troops. The y wore the pretty clothing in which he had loved to drape them; the y were not sad like the mourners who had gone, but happy as the forget--122-me-nots and pansies at their feet and the lilac overhead fdr they knew that this was his coronation day. Onl y one was airily in mourning as knowing "better than the others what fitted the occasion, the Countess de Salda)v H e recognized her sense of the fitness of things with a smile and a bow\. Th e men saluted, the women gave their flowers to Dahlia to give to him, so that sh^, being the most un-happy and therefore by him the most beloved, should have his last word, and he took their offerings and passed on. They did not go with him, these, his splendid progeny, the ladies of the future; the y went their way to tell the whole earth of the new world for women which he had been the first to forsee. "Without knowing why, for his work was done, he turned to the left, passing his famous cherry-blossom and climbed between apple trees to a little house of two rooms, whence most of that noble company had sprung. I t is the Chalet where he worked and good and brave men will forever bow proudly before it; but good and brave women will bow more proudly still. H e went there only because he had gone so often, and this time the door was locked; h e did ncct know why nor care. H e came swinging down the path singing lustily, and calling to his dogs, his dogs of the present and of the past; an d they yelped with joy, for they knew they were once again to breast the hill with him. "He strode up the hill whirling his staff, for -123-which he had no longer any other use. Hi s hearing was again so acute that from far away on the Dorking road he could hear the rumbling of a coach. I t had been disputed whether he should be buried i n Westminster Abbey or in a quiet churchyard and there came to him somehow a know-ledge (i t was the last he ever knew of little things) that people had been at variance as to whether a cksket of dust should be laid away in one hole or in another, and he flung back his head with the old glorious action and laughed a laugh, "broad as thousand beeves at pasture". "BoxHill was no longer deserted. Whe n a great man dies,"* and this was one of the greatest since Shakespeare,-* the immortals await him at the top of the nearest hill. H e looked up and saw his peers. The y were all young like him-self. H e waved the staff in greeting. One , a mere stripling "slight unspeakably" R.L.S. detached himself from the others, crying gloriously, "Here's the fellow I have been telling you about!" an d ran down the hill to be the first to take his master's hand. "In the meantime an empty coach was rolling on to Dorking". BIBLIOGRAPHY MEREDITH HARDY 1871 1872 1849 Chillianwalla h 1851 Moder n love and other Poems 1856 Th e Shaving of Shagp at 1867 Farin a 1859 Th e Ordeal of Richard Feveral 1861 Eva n Harrington 1862 Poem s 1865 Rhod a Fleming 1867 Vittori a 1871 Th e Adventures of Harry Richmond 1876 Beauchamp' s Career. 1877 Shor t Stories - Th e House on the Heath The Case of Gen Ople and Lady Cflmper. The Tale of Ohloe 1891 1879 Th e Egoist 1880 The T r a g i c Comedians 1891 1856 Diana of the Crossways 1894 .1887 B a l l a d s and Poems of - 1895 T r a g i c L i f e . 1897 1888 A l e a d i n g of E a r t h 1891 One of Our C o n q u e r o r s . 1892 The Empty P u r s ^ r g ? f / . ^ ^ d^Utum/a^J. 1895 The Amazing Mar r i age -<6o ft-rnJvnZA, \QVQ 1898 Ode i n C o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h e Song of French History 190 9 1901 A  Reading of Life. 1905 Cel t and Saxon - 191 7 unfinished 1873 1874 1876 1878 1880 1881 1882 1886 1887 1888 The Poetry and Philosophy of George Merdeith -  Georg e Macaulay Trevelyan The Letters of George Meredith Desperate Remedies, Under the Greenwood Tree. A Pair of Blue Eyes Far from the Madding Crowd The Hand of Ethelberta The Return of the Native. The Trumpet Major A Laodician Two on a Tower The Major of Caster-bridge The Woodlanders Wessex Tales A Group of Hoble Dames Tess of the D'Urberville Life's Little Ironies Jude the Obscure The Well-Beloved -published originally in the Illustrated London Hews 1892. Wessex Poems 1904 -6 The Dynasts Vols. I and II. Time's Laughing Stocks and other verses Movements of Yisioa Library of the Y/orld's Best Literature Vol.XII. On Contemporary Literature - Stuart P, Sherman Thomas Hardy - Lascelles Aberorombje Masters of the English Novel - Burton , . I s I 

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