and moral conservatism, it is really Athenian. I doubt if any lines of Tennyson were more often quoted by contemporaries than these:

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster.

No words could express more perfectly the Victorian ideal of perpetual expansion about a central stability. But would anyone guarantee that they are not a translation from Sophocles?


B. A. KOHNFELDT1

THE scale on which the volumes in Messrs Duckworth's biographical series are composed requires us to take them rather as essays, somewhat in the manner practised by the Quarterly and Edinburgh reviewers a hundred years ago. Judged by this standard, Mr Beeley's brief Life must be pronounced excellent, leaving one only with the regret that he had not a larger space within which to show his gifts. The narrative is compact, and the judgements, on Disraeli and such others as cross the little stage, are framed with good sense and always delivered with good taste.

I was recently talking with an old Gladstonian whose recollections go back to the death of Palmerston and the election of 1868. 'What was it,' I asked him, 'that made your generation so profoundly distrustful of Disraeli?' His answer surprised me somewhat. 'His early Radicalism.' Memories were longer in those days, of course, when the electorate was small, newspapers dear, and tradition was propagated, very largely, by conversation within a closed and responsible circle. The most telling stroke Disraeli himself ever delivered was aimed in 1845 against the Peel of 1828, before an audience to whom Catholic Emancipation and the

____________________
1
Disraeli, by Harold Beeley.

-162-

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Victorian Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Victorian Centenary 13
  • The Age of Tennyson 46
  • Eyes and No Eyes 70
  • Thackeray 74
  • Mr and Mrs Dickens 79
  • The Schoolman in Downing Street1the Two Mr Gladstones, by G. T. Garratt. 82
  • Mr Gladstone 90
  • The Happy Family 110
  • The Greatest Victorian 116
  • The Mercian Sibyl 129
  • The Victorian Noon-Time 133
  • Sophist and Swashbuckler 142
  • The Faith of The Grandfathers 146
  • Tempus Actum 153
  • B. A. Kohnfeldt 158
  • Katherine Stanley And John Russell 162
  • Maitland 173
  • Topsy 178
  • The New Cortegiano 183
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