Thomas Carlyle: Quotations

The French Revolution
Sartor Resartus
Lecture on Heroes
My Irish Journey
“The Nigger Question”
Latter Day Pamphlets
Sundry Quotations
Eyre Sq., Galway

See Carlyle on ...
J.-J. Rousseau S. T. Coleridge

Note: The selection of quotations given here is chiefly determined by my theory of his influence on the early thinking of James Joyce especially as regards the central position of the ‘man of letters’ in human affairs - cf. Stephen Hero, 1969 Cape Edn., p.216. [BS]
  Pagination in square-brackets refers to the Chapman & Hall’s 1888 edition which incorporates Sartor Resartus, Lectures on Heroes, Chartism, and Past and Present. The pagination in this edition restarts with Chartism and runs as follows:

Sartor Resartus pp.[2]-182; On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, pp.185-368; index to SR, pp.[399]-72; Index on Heroes, pp.373-75; Chartism [t.p.; epigraph: “it never smokes but there is fire” - Old Proverb], pp.[3]-68; Past and Present [epigraph from Schiller] [68]-302; Index [on]Chartism, pp.303-04; on Past and Present pp.304-08.

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French Revolution
‘For ours is a most fictile world; and man is the most fingent plastic of creatures.’
‘A world not fixable, not fathomable! An unfathomable Somewhat, which is Not We; which we can work with, and live amidst,- and model, miraculously to our Being, and name World. -But if the very Rocks and Rivers (as Metaphysics teaches) are, in strict language, made by those outward Senses of ours, how much more, by the Inward Sense, are all Phenomena of the spiritual kind ...’ [6]
‘Observe however, that of man’s whole terrestrial possessions and attainments, unspeakably the noblest are his symbols, divine or divine-seeming; under which he marches and fights, with victorious assurance, in this life-battle, what we can call his Realised Ideals. Of which realised Ideals, omitting the rest, consider only too, his Church, or his Spiritual Guidance,, his Kingship [...].’
Conclusion: ‘For whatsoever once sacred things become hollow jargons, yet while the Voice of Man speaks with Man, hast thou not there the living fountain out of which all sacrednesses sprang, and will yet spring? Man, by the nature of him, is definable as ‘an incarnated Word’. Ill stands it with me if I have spoken falsely, then also it was to hear truly. Farewell.’ (The French Revolution: A History, by Thomas Carlyle, in Three Volumes. Vol. III: The Guillotine. London: Chapman & Hall Ld. [n.d.]), [Bk viii], p.274 finis.]
Note: My copy signed by former owner on t.p. “A. Le Brocquy, New Grove [Dublin], 1908” - BS.

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Sartor Resartus

‘[H]is Transcendental Philosophies, and humour of looking at all Matter and Material things as Spirit [17];
‘The first spiritual want of a barbarous man is Decoration, as indeed we still see among the barbarous classes of civilised countries.’ [23]
‘He who first shortened the labour of Copyists by devising of Movable Types was disbanding hired Armies, and cashiering [23] most Kings and Senates, and creating a whole new Democratic world; he had invented the Art of Printing.’ [23-24; cf. remarks on letters and runes, 202, 204, infra; also in Heroes, 308 infra.]
‘Who am I; what is this ME?’ The answer lies around, written in colours and motions, uttered in all tones of jubilee and wail, in a thousand-figured, thousand-voiced, harmonious Nature, [...]; sounds and many coloured visions flit round our senses; [...] Creation, says one, lies before us, like a glorious Rainbow [...; 31-32 - for longer extract, see infra.].
‘The secret of Man’s Being is still like the Sphinx’s secret, a riddle that he cannot rede; and for ignorance of which he suffers death, the worst death, spiritual. [32];
‘The Universe’, he says, was as a mighty Sphinx-riddle, which I knew so little of, yet must rede, or be devoured.’ [78];
‘All visible things are emblems; what thou seest is not there on its own account; strictly taken, is not there at all, Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some Idea, and body it forth. Hence Clothes, as despicable as we think them are so unspeakably significant .... all Emlematic things are properly clothes ... Language is called the Garment of Thought, however, it should rather be, Language is the Flesh-Garment, the Body, of Thought.’ [43];
‘World circulation of Waters, which, with its atmospheric arteries, has lasted and lasts simply with the World. [63];
‘First must the dead Letter of Religion own itself dead, and drop piecemeal into dust, if the living Spirit of Religion, freed from this charnel-house, is to arise on us, newborn of Heaven, and with new healing under its wings.’ [71];
‘But it is with man’s Soul as it was with Nature, the beginning of Creation is - Light. Till the eye have vision, the whole members are in bonds. Divine moment, when over the tempest-tost Soul, as once over the wild-weltering Chaos, it is spoken, Let there be Light!’ [120];
But it is with man’s Soul as it is with Nature, the beginnning of Creation is - Light. Till the eye have vision the whole members are in bonds.’ [120];
‘The Word is well said to be omnipotent in this world; man, thereby divine, can create as by a Fiat. Awake, arise! Speak forth what is in thee; what God has given thee, what the Devil shall not take away. Higher task than that of Priesthood was allotted to no man, wert thou but the meanest in that sacred Hierarchy, is it not honour enough therein to spend and be spent?’ [121];

... anywhere and anywhen [159]; everlasting Now [160]

Sartor Resartus [on the IRISH:]
‘In strange contrast with this Dandiacal Body stands another British Sect, originally, I understand, of Ireland, where its chief seat is; but known also in the main Island, and indeed everywhere rapidly spreading As this sect has hitherto emitted no Canonical Books, it remains to me in the same state of obscurity as theDandiacal, which has published Books that the unassisted human faculty are inadequate to read. The members appear to be designated by a considerable diversity of names ... regarding the Sect of Drudge, or White Negroes, while in Ireland, which, as mentioned, is their grand parent hive, they go by a perplexing multiplicity of designations, such as Bogtrotters, Redshanks, Ribbonmen, Cottiers, peep-of-Day Boys, Babes in the Wood, Rockite, Poor-Slavers ... The precise speculative tenets of this Brotherhood, how the Universe, and Man, and Man’s Life, picture themselves to the mind of an Irish poor-slave; with what feelings and opinions he looks forward on the Future, round on the Present, back on the past, it were extremely difficult to specify. Something monastic there appears to be in their Constitution, we find them bound by the two Monastic vows of Poverty and Obedience [171] ... Of which Irish poor-slave costume no description will indeed be found in the present volume. [On diet:] all Poor-Slaves are Rhizophagous (or Root-eaters); and a few are Ichtyophagus and use Salted herrings ... [171] ... their universal sustenance is the root named Potato, cooked by fire alone; ... for drink, they use milk ... and poteen ... This latter I have tasted, as well as the English blue Ruin.’

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Chartism (1840) [Chapter - ‘Finest Peasantry in the World’]: ‘.. the oppression has gone far farther than into the economics of Ireland; inwards to her very heart and soul. The Irish National character is degraded, disordered; till this recover itself, nothing is yet recovered. Immethodic, headlong, violent, mendacious, what can you make of the wretched Irishman? ... Such people works no longer on Nature and Reality; works now on Phantasm, Simulation, Non-entity; the result it arrives at is naturally not a thing but no-thing, - defect even in potatoes. Scarcity, futility, confusion, distraction, must be the perennial there. Such people circulates not order but disorder, through every vein of it [17]; - and the cure if it is to be a cure, must begin at the heart’ ... And let no true Irishman, who believes and sees all this, despair by reason of it.’ [18; cont.]

Chartism (‘Finest Peasantry in the World’) - cont.: ‘[T]he Irish speak a partially intelligible dialect of English ... the Milesian ... is the sorest evil this country has to deal with ... squalid apehood ... the uncivilised Irishman, not by his strength but by the opposite of strength, drives out the Saxon native ...’ [19]. Further: Yet these poor Celtiberian [FW 078] Irish brothers, what can they help it? They cannot stay at home and starve ... the time has come when the Irish population must either be improved a little or else exterminated.’ (p.19.)

Chartism (‘Finest Peasantry in the World’) - cont. [speaking of the English Berserkir rage which may be aroused against the Irish]: ‘Deep it lies, far down in the centre, like a genial central-fire, with stratum after stratum of arrangement, traditionary method, composed productiveness, all built above it, vivified and rendered fertile by it; justice, clearness, silence, perseverance, unhasting unresting diligence, hatred of disorder, hatred of injustice, which is the worst disorder, characterise this people ... with this strong silent people have the noisy vehement Irish now at length got common cause made ... alas that it should, on both sides, be poor toiling men that pay the smart for unruly Striguls, Henrys, MacDermots, and O’Donoghues .... the condition of the lower English multitudes approximate more and more to that of the Irish competing with them in all markets [...’; 20.]

Chartism (‘Finest Peasantry in the World’) - cont.: ‘[...] With an Ireland pouring daily in on us, these circumstances; deluging us down to its own waste confusion, outward and inward, it seems a cruel mockery to tell poor drudges their condition is improving. [...] Somewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa or America doubt it not, ye will find cartage; go and seek cartage, and good go with you!” They of the protrusive upper lip, snort dubious; signifying that Europe, Asia, Africa and America lie somewhat out of their beat [...] in the black throat into which wretchedness of every sort, consummating itself by calling on delirium to hell it whirls down ...’ (p.21). ‘Ireland is in chronic atrophy these five centuries; the disease of nobler England, identified now with that of Ireland, becomes acute, and will be cured or kill.’ (Carlyle, Ibid., p.23.)

[Note similarity to Emerson on ‘poor Paddy, whose country is his wheelbarrow; look at his whole nation of Paddies’, in “Uses of Great Men” [Chap. 1 of ], Representative Men (1850) - as quoted under Joyce, Notes - as infra. Search also longer extracts from Emerson, English Traits and Representative Men (London Edn. 1883 &c.), in RICORSO > Library > “Criticism / International Critics” > as attached.

Chartism - on English guilt & Irish wrongs: ‘Oppression has gone far further than into the economics of Ireland; inwards to her very heart and soul. The Irish National character is degraded, disordered; till this recover itself, nothing is yet recovered. Immethodic, headlong, violent, mendcious: what can you make of the wretched Irishman?’ [169].

Chartism - English guilt & Irish wrongs: ‘We English pay, even now, the bitter smart of long centuries of injustice to our neighbour Island. Injustice, doubt it not, abounds, or Ireland would not be miserable. The Earth is good, bountifully sends food and increase; if man’s unwisdom did not intervene and forbid .... England is guilty towards Ireland; and reaps at last, in full measure, the fruit of fifteen generations of wrong-doing.’ [170].

Chartism - cont.: ‘The time has come when the Irish population must either be improved a little, or else exterminated [...] In a state of perennial ultra-savage famine, in the midst of civilisatilon, they cannot continue.’ [172-31] ‘Ireland is in chronic atrophy these five centuries, the disease of nobler England, identified now with that of Ireland, becomes acute, has crises, and will be cured or kill.’ [176].

Chartism - cont.: ‘If we examine, we shall find that, in this world, no conquest could ever become permanent, which did not withal show itself beneficial to the conquered as well as to the conquerors.’ [178] (The foregoing quoted by Christopher Morash (Maynooth/NUI) in email of 28 May 1998.)

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Lecture on Heroes
Lecture I
[Tuesday, 5th May 1840]
The Hero as Divinity. Odin. Paganism. Scandinavian Mythology.
Bibl.: Sartor Resartus [... &c.] (London: Chapman & Hall 1888 [Edn.]), p.[185; i.e., opening paras; italics mine - as explained infra.] (Ibid., p.194.)

We have undertaken to discourse here for a little on Great Men[,] their manner of appearance in our world’s business, how they shaped themselves in the world’s history, what ideas men formed of them, what work they did; - on Heroes., namely, and on their reception and performance; what I call Hero-worship and the Heroic in human affairs. Too evidently this is a large topic; deserving quite other treatment than we can expect to give it at pre sent. A large topic; indeed, an illimitable one; wide as Universal History itself. For, as I take it, Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the practical realisation and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world’s history, it may be justly considered, were the history of these. Too clearly it is a topic we shall do no justice to in this place!
  One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as kindled lamp only, only, but as a natural luminary shining by the gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original insight, of manhood and hands nobleness; - whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them.

We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as kindled lamp only, only, but as a natural luminary shining by the gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original insight, of manhood and hands nobleness; - whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them.
Note: The passage reading ’We cannot look, however imperfectly [...] it is well with them’ is given in Pattern Poetry: Part II - A Book of English Poems, Standard and Modern, with Helps to Contemplation and Mild Incitements to Emulation, compiled by Richard Wilson (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons 1926; reps.1927, 1928, 1929), p.241. Wilson writes at the conclusion of his Preface: ‘The best and most characteristic features of modern poetry cannot be fully appreciated by the pupils for whom this book is intended, for most of the younger poets are so very old and experienced, and we must [6] go back to Chaucer and the Elizabethans, to Wordsworth, and even some of the temporarily despised Victorians, for the free expression of the spirit of youth. I have, however, selected a number of poems of to-day of which some of the qualities can be recognised by boys and girls, and I have tried to show, in an incidental manner, that there is little of anything that is really novel in modern poetic method and thought, that the younger singers are, in spite of frequent disclaimers, the heirs of all the ages.’ [pp.6-7; end.]

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - “Hero as Divinity” [being Lect. 1]: ‘The history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ [...] He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as a kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary shining by the gift of heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness; - in whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them.’ [185]

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - cont.: ‘Let us consider it very certain that men did believe in Paganism; men with open eyes, sound senses, men made altogether like ourselves; that we, had we been there, should have believed in it. [188] hardened round us, encasing wholly every notion we form, is a wrappage of traditions, hear-says, mere words [190] ... the power to escape out of hearsays’ [191; cont.].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - cont.: ‘He sees ... that this so solid-looking material world is, at bottom, in very deed, Nothing; is a visual and tactual manifestation of God’s power and presence - a shadow hung-out by Him on the bosom of the Void Infinite; nothing more. [236; cont.].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - cont [on Mohammed:] ‘A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world, a Hero-prophet was sent down to them with a words they could believe, see, the unnoticed became came world-notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards Arabia is at Granada on this hand, at Delhi, on that; - glancing in valour and splendour and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the earth....... the Great Man is always as lightning out of Heaven, the rest of men wait for him like fuel, and they too, would flame’ [242].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - HERO AS POET: ‘[...] the Divine Idea of the World, that which lies at the bottom of all Appearance’, as Fichte styles it; [244] of which all Appearance ... but especially the Appearance of Man and his work, is but the vesture, the embodiment that renders it visible’ [245].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - [On ‘MUSICAL’ IN POETRY] A musical though is one spoken by a mind that has penetrated into the inmost heart of the thing; detected the inmost heart of it of it, namely the melody that lies hidden in it; the inward harmony of coherence which is its soul, whereby it exists, and has a right to be, here in this world. All inmost things, we may say, are melodious; naturally utter themselves in Song.’ [247]. ‘Se tu segui tua stella ... Follow thou thy star, thou shalt no fail of a glorious haven’ [252].

Lectures on Heroes (1841; HERO AS POET) - cont: ‘It is unexampled, I think, that calm creative perspicacity of Shakespeare. [Every] thing he looks at reveals not this or that face [262] of it, but its inmost heart, its generic secret, it dissolves itself as in light before him, so that he discerns the perfect structure of it. Creative, we said, poetic creation, what is this but seeing the thing sufficiently’ [ 263].

Lectures on Heroes (1841; HERO AS POET) - cont: ‘The seeing eye! It is this that discloses the inner harmony of things; what Nature meant, the musical Nature has wrapped-up in these often rough embodiments. Something she did mean ... the faculty which enables him to discern the inner heart of things, and the harmony that dwells there (for whatsoever exists has a harmony in the heart of it, or it would not hold together and exist), is not the result of habits or accidents but the gift of nature herself; the primary outfit for a [263] heroic Man of what sort soever. To the Poet, as to every other we say first of all See.... For in fact, I say the degree of vision that dwells in a man is a correct measure of the man.... [faculties] are but different names for the same Power of Insight ... to know a thing, what we can call knowing, a man must first love the thing, sympathise with it, that is, be virtuously related it it.’ [264].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - HERO AS PRIEST: ‘All worship whatsoever must proceed by Symbols, by Idols, - we may say, all Idolatry is comparative, and the worst Idolatry is only more idolatrous.’ [275]. [ON FORMALISM: ] ‘No more immoral act can be done by a human creature; for it is the beginning of immorality or rather it is the impossibility of henceforth of any morality whatsoever, the innermost moral soul is paralysed therefore, cast into fatal magnetic sleep! Men are no longer sincere men.’ [276]. ‘Protestantism is the grand root from which our whole subsequent European history branches out.’ [277]. ‘If hero mean sincere man, why may not every one of us be a Hero?’ [280].

Lectures on Heroes (1841) - HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS: ‘[...] since it is the spiritual always that determines the material, this same Man of Letters Hero must be regarded as our most important modern person. He, such as he may be, is the soul of all. What he teaches, the whole world will do and make .... The Hero is he who lives in the inward sphere of things, in the true, the divine, the Eternal ... under the Temporary, Trivial ... he declares that abroad, by act or speech as it may be, by declaring himself abroad.’ [...; 301] ‘The man of letters is sent here that he may discern for himself, and make manifest to us, this same Divine Idea’ [302]. (Cont.)

Lectures on Heroes (1841; HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS) - cont.: ‘Men of Letters are a perpetual priesthood, from age to age ... In the true Literary Man, there is thus ever, acknowledged or not by the world, a sacredness, he is the light of the world; the world’s Priest; - guiding it, like a sacred Pillar of Fire, in its dark pilgrimage through the wastes of Time.’ [302]. ‘The thing we call “bits of paper with traces of ink” is the purest embodiment of a Thought of man can have.’ [308]. ‘The manifold, inextricably complex, universal struggle of these constitutes, and must constitute, what is called the progress of society.’ [310]; ‘Light is the one thing wanted for the world’ [311]. (Cont.)

Lectures on Heroes (1841; HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS) - cont. ‘[ON SPIRITUAL PARALYSIS, prefatory to discussion of Dr Johnson:] ‘His [the Man of Letters] fatal misery was the spiritual paralysis, so we may name it, of the age in which his life lay; whereby his life too, do what he might, was half-paralysed! The Eighteenth was a Skeptical Century; in which little word there is a whole Pandora’s Box of miseries. Scepticism means not intellectual Doubt alone, but moral Doubt; all sorts of infidelity, insincerity, spiritual paralysis ... [312] ... Spiritual paralysis, I say, nothing left but a Mechanical life, was the characteristic of that that century ... . Scepticism is the name we give to all this; as the chief symptom, as the chief origin of all this. [313] ‘Atheism: in brief; - which does indeed frightfully punish itself. The man, I say, is become spiritually a paralytic man; this godlike Universe a dead mechanical steam engine, all worked by motives and checks, balances, and I know not what ... Belief I define to be the healthy act of a man’s mind’ [315]. Note, the following section, HERO AS KING, treats of Oliver Cromwell in the prime position.

Cf., earlier: ‘Such small critics do what they can to promote unbelief and universal spiritual paralysis, but happily they cannot always completely succeed. In all times it is possible for a man to arise great enough to feel that they and their doctrines are chimeras and cobwebs. And what is notable, in no time whatever can they entirely eradicate out of living men’s hearts a certain altogether peculiar reverence for Great Men; genuine admiration, loyalty, adoration, however dim and perverted it may be. [e.g., Boswell/Johnson] (Ibid., p.194.)

Cf. G. H. Lewis, A Biographical History of Philosophy from Its Origins in Greece Down to the Present Time (London: Cox 1845-1846): ‘Skepticism [sic], with a polish of hypocrisy, was the general disease. It penetrated almost everywhere - from the cloister to the cardinal’s palace. Skepticism, however, is only a transitory disease. Men must have convictions. Accordingly, in all ages, we seek skepticism stimulating new reforms; and reformers were not wanting in the sixteenth century.’ (p.377.) [Available at Google Books - online.]

Lectures on Heroes (1841; HERO AS MAN OF LETTERS), cont. - on Jean-Jacques Rousseau: ‘Of Rousseau’s literary talents, greatly celebrated still among [324] his countrymen. I do not say much. His Books, like himself, eve what I call unhealthy; not the good sort of Books. There is a sensuality in Rousseau. Combined with such an intellectual gift as his, it makes pictures of a certain gorgeous attractiveness: but they are not genuinely poetical. Not white sunlight: something operatic; a kind of rosepink, artificial bedizenment. It is frequent, or rather it is universal, among the French since his time. Madame de Staël has something of it; St. Pierre; and down onwards to the present astonishing convulsionary “Literature of Desperation,” it is everywhere abundant. That same rosepink is not the right hue. Look at a Shakespeare, at a Goethe, even at a Walter Scott! He who has once seen into this, has seen the difference of the True from the Sham-True, and will discriminate them ever afterwards.
 We had to observe in Johnson how much good a Prophet, under all disadvantages and disorganisations, can accomplish for the world. In Rousseau we are called to look rather at the fearful amount of evil which, under such disorganisation, may accompany the good. Historically it is a most pregnant spectacle, that of Rousseau. Banished into Paris garrets, in the gloomy company of his own Thoughts and Necessities there; driven from post to pillar; fretted, exasperated till the heart of him went mad, he had grown to feel deeply that the world was not his friend nor the world’s law. It was expedient, if anyway possible, that such a man should not have been set in flat hostility with the world. He could be cooped into garrets, laughed at as a maniac, left to starve like a wild beast in his cage; -but lie could not be hindered from setting the world on fire. The French Revolution found its Evangelist in Rousseau. His semi-delirious speculations on the miseries of civilised life, the preferability of the savage to the civilised, and such like, helped well to produce a whole delirium in France generally. True, you may well ask, What could the world, the governors of the world, do with such a man? Difficult to say what the governors of the world could do with him! What he could do with them is unhappily clear enough, - guillotine a great many of them! Enough now of Rousseau.’

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Carlyle’s cosmology ...
‘Who am I; what is this ME?’ The answer lies around, written in colours and motions, uttered in all tones of jubilee and wail, in a thousandfigured, thousandvoiced, harmonious Nature, but where is the cunning eye and ear to whom that God-written Apocalpyse will yield articulate meaning? We sit as in a boundless Phantasmagoria and Dream grotto; boundless, for the faintest star, the remotest century, lies not even nearer the verge thereof; sounds and many coloured visions flit round our senses; but Him, the Unslumbering, whose work both Dream and Dreamer are, we see not; except in rare half-waking moments, suspect not. Creation, says one, lies before us, like a glorious Rainbow; but the Sun that made it lies hidden behind us, hidden from us. (Sartor Resartus, Chap. VIII, ‘The World Out of Clothes’, Chapman & Hall 1888, pp.31-32).
On Hero-worship ...
‘[...] We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens, which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as kindled lamp only, only, but as a natural luminary shining by the gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original insight, of manhood and hands nobleness; - whose radiance all souls feel that it is well with them.’ (“Hero as Divinity”, in Sartor Resartus, Chapman & Hall 1888, p.185).
Anthologised in Richard Wilson, ed., Pattern Poetry: Part II (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons 1926; reps.1927, 1928, 1929), p.241 [see note]. For longer extracts, see infra.
On the Irish ...
‘Crowds of miserable Irish darken all our towns. The wild Milesian features, looking false ingenuity, restlessness, unreason, misery and mockery, salute you on all highways and byways. The Milesian is holding out his hat to beg. He is the sorest evil this country has to strive with.’ (Chartism [1840] London: Chapman & Hall 1898, p.18; quoted in Joe Horgan, reviewing Peter Gray, Victoria’s Irish? Irishness and Britishness, 1837-1901, Dublin: Four Courts; in Books Ireland, Nov. 2004, p.260; also in Fionntán de Brún, ‘Expressing the Nineteenth Century in Irish: The Poetry of Aodh Mac Domhnaill (180267)’, in New Hibernia Review/Iris Éireannach Nua, Spring 2011, p.105 [citing 1898 edn., as supra].)
‘Can it be charity to keep men alive on these terms? In face of all the twaddle of the earth, shoot a man rather than train him (with heavy expense to his neighbours) to be a deceptive human swine’. (Quoted in Frank Tuohy, Yeats, 1976, p.18).
‘Beggars, beggars; the only industry followed really by the Irish people.’ (Irish Journey, 1882 Edn., p.223; cited in Denis Donoghue, We Irish, 1986, p.62).

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Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 (1882), Nov. 11, 1849: ‘Went to Ireland as foreshadowed in the last entry; wandered about there all through July, have half forcibly recalled all my remembrances, and thrown them down on paper since my return. Ugly spectacle, sad health, sad humour, a thing unjoyful to look back upon. The whole country figures in my mind like a ragged coat; an huge beggar’s gabardine, not patched or patchable any longer, far from a joyful or a beautiful spectacle.’ The MS was given to Neuberg, his secretary, thence to Thomas Ballantyne, who sold it to Mr Anderson, and thence to the publisher. Index [BS]: Meets Duffy [39]; John O’Hagan [40]; Robert Kane out of town [41]; “Dr Carloil” , acc. O’Kennedy; Stokes’s dinner and foolish Mrs. Stokes [48]; George Petrie: ‘enthusiast for Brian Boru and all that province of affairs ... an excellent, simple, affectionate loveable soul, “dear old Petrie”, he was our chief figure for me ... real knowledge though with sad credulity on Irish antiquarian matters; no knowledge that I saw on anything else [49]; Todd, an ‘antiquarian parson’ [49]. Dr Murray, bulk of Catholic Irishism [53]; Hancock; John Kells Ingram, author of “True men like you men”” Repeal song [52]; Ingram, wholly English (that is to say, Irish-rational) in sentiment [53]; Duffy very plaintiff with a strain of rage audible in it [54]; Isaac Butt [54]; Larcom [58, 63]; S. Bridget; “fire-tower house” [69] and Round Tower, Kildare [70]; Irish BABEL [160; cf. Finnegans Wake]. (Cont.)

Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 (1882) - cont.: “John of Chume” (John MacHale, q.v.); [194]; McHale’s [?sic] ugly Cathedral [195]; Westport Workhouse, ‘Human swinery has here reached its acme ... [&c., as supra; see Malcolm Brown, Politics of Irish Literature, 1972, pp.118-19]; Ballina [207]; ‘Archbishop McHale, John of “Chume”, was born hereabouts, peasant-farmer’s son. Given a vivacious greedy soul with this grim outlook vacant of all but the eternal crags and skies, and for reading of life’s huge riddle, an Irish Mass-book only - and [one] had a glimpse of “John of Chume” - poor devil, after all!’ [209]; Barnesmore Gap: ‘nothing of a gap to speak of [compared with Scotland] [227]; Gweedore, Dunfanaghy [240]; Derry ‘prettiest looking town I have seen in Ireland’ [254]; Grianan of Aileach [256]; departed for Glasgow. (Cont.)

Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 (1882) - cont.: ‘Remedy for Ireland? To cease generally from following the devil; no other remedy that I know of; one general life-element of humbug these two centuries, and it has not fallen bankrupt.’ [259]. Note: The Journal extends from 2 July to 6 Aug., and was written down 4 Oct. to 16 Oct. 1849.

The Nigger Question” (1849): ‘No: the gods wish besides pumpkins [plant favoured by Carlyle’s “niggers”], that spices and valuable products be grown in their West Indies; this much they have declared in so making the West Indies: infinitely more they wish, that industrious men occupy their West Indies, not indolent twolegged cattle however “happy” over their abundant pumpkins! Both these things, we may be assured, the immortal gods have decided upon, passed their eternal Act of Parliament for: and both of them, though all terrestrial Parliaments and entities oppose it to the death, shall be done. Quashee, if he will not help in bringing-out the spices will get himself made a slave again (which state will be a little less ugly than his present one), and with beneficent whip, since other methods avail not, will be compelled to work.’ (Quoted in Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, Chatto & Windus 1993, p.122; citing extract in Phillip D. Curran, Imperialism, NY: Walker 1971.)

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Coleridge”, being Chap. VIII of John Sterling [1851], in The Life of John Sterling; Latter Day Pamphlets [as] The Works of Thomas Carlyle [NY 19--?], p.52 [of 464pp.]; rep. as Do. [facs.] (NY: Kessinger 2004): ‘[...] His express contributions to poetry, philosophy, or any specific province of human enlightenment, had been small and sadly intermittent; but he had, especially among young inquiring men, a higher than literary, a kind of prophetic or magician character. He was thought to hold, he alone in England, the key of German and other Transcendentalisms; knew the sublime secret of believing by “the reason” what “the understanding” had been obliged to fling out as incredible; and could still, after Hume and Voltaire had done their best and worst with him, profess himself an orthodox Christian, and say and print to the Church of England, with its singular old rubrics and surplices at Allhallowtide, Esto perpetua. A sublime man; who, alone in these dark days, has saved his crown of spiritual manhood; escaping from the black materialisms, and revolutionary deluges, with “God, Freedom, Immortality” still his: a king of men. The practical intellects of the world did not much heed him, or carelessly reckoned him a metaphysical dreamer: but to the rising spirits of the young generation he had this dusky sublime character; and sat there as a kind of Magus, girt in mystery and enigma; his Dodona oak-grove (Mr. Gilman’s house at Highgate) whispering strange things, uncertain whether oracles or jargon.’ (Available at Google Books - online). [See also remarks on J. C. Hare under extracts from Coleridge’s Literary Remains (1836) - as attached.]

S. T. Coleridge, Essays on Our Times, ed. by his daughter (Pickering 1850) Introduction - chaps. on Ireland incl. footnote [by his nephew-editor] quoting Carlyle, as follows; ‘In this way, not in the way of extermination, was Ireland settled by the Puritans. - The mass of the Irish nation lives quiet under a new land aristocracy; new, and, in several particulars, very much improved indeed: under these lives now the mass of the Irish nation; ploughing, delving, hammering; with their wages punctually paid them; with the truth spoken to them, and the truth done to them, so as they had never befores seen it since there were a nation. Clarendon himself admits that Ireland flourished to an unexampled extent, under this arrangement. One can well believe it. What is to hinder poor Ireland from flourishing, if you will do the truth to it and speak the truth, instead of doing the falsity and speaking the falsity?
  Ireland under this arrangement would have grown up into a sober, diligent, drab-coloured population, &c. But the Ever-Blessed Restoration came upon us, all that arrangement was torn up by the roots, and Ireland was appointed [lix] to develop as we have seen. Not in the drab-coloured Puritan way; - in what other way is still a terrible dubeity, to itself and to us’ Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches by Thomas Carlyle.
 It is curous to observe how Spenser’s speculations and Cromwell’s practicalities with respect to the Irish agree: the martial measures and economical regulations suggested by the interlocutor Irenaeus, who seems, like Oliver, to have thought that the shore of Peace in Ireland could only be reached through seas of blood, were put in act by the master spirit of the Rebellion, the Hero of Puritanism. If the ghost if ghost of the Poet-Politician, in the time of the Stuarrs and their mighty antagonist, haunted the shades of Kilcolman, the Curse of Cromwell, the carrying out of his stern counsels by the Protector of English, may have done much to settle his inquietude.’ (pp.lix-lx.)

Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850; rep. in Collected Works [30 Vols.], Chapman & Hall 1898): ‘An Irish Giant, named of despair, is advancing upon London itself, laying waste all English cities, towns and villages [...] I notice him in Picadilly, blue-visaged, thatched in rags, a blue child on each arm; hunger-driven, wide-mouthed, seeking whom he may devour: he, missioned by the just Heavens, too truly and too sadly their “divine missionary” come at last.’ (Vol. 1, pp.93-94; quoted in Katy Plowright, ‘A Celtic Resurrection: Perspectives on Yeats Generation in the Fin de Siècle’, in Critical Ireland: New Essays in Literature and Culture, ed. Aaron Kelly & Alan Gillis, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.181.)

Plowright remarks: ‘Carlyle’s perception of the Irish, shaped by his experiences in Ireland in the summer of 1849, took a personified form; his metaphor clearly implied that the social responsibility of English misrule would infiltrate to the very centre of empire. This “divine missionary” figured Irish survival through suffering and despair, at the expense of humanity; Carlyle described a cultural malady which deadened the humanity of the Irish. This was a grotesque messianism, the image of the Promethean race implying a lack of internality very different to its usual Romantic incarnation.’ (Idem.)

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Sundry quotations (from John Bartlett’s Quotations, 1901)
  • ‘Except by name, Jean Paul Friedrich Richter is little known out of Germany. The only thing connected with him, we think, that has reached this country is his saying, - imported by Madame de Staël, and thankfully pocketed by most newspaper critics, - “Providence has given to the French the empire of the land; to the English that of the sea; to the Germans that of - the air!” (‘Richter’, in Edinburgh Review, 1827).
  • ‘Literary men are ... a perpetual priesthood.’ (‘State of German Literature’; in idem.)
  • ‘Clever men are good, but they are not the best.’ (‘Goethe’, Edinburgh Review, 1828).
  • ‘We are firm believers in the maxim that for all right judgment of any man or thing it is useful, nay, essential, to see his good qualities before pronouncing on his bad.’ (Idem.
  • ‘How does the poet speak to men with power, but by being still more a man than they?’ (‘Burns’, Idem.)
  • ‘A poet without love were a physical and metaphysical impossibility.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘His religion at best is an anxious wish, - like that of Rabelais, a great Perhaps.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘We have oftener than once endeavoured to attach some meaning to that aphorism, vulgarly imputed to Shaftesbury, which however we can find nowhere in his works, that “ridicule is the test of truth.”.1 (Voltaire, Foreign Review, 1829.)
  • ‘We must repeat the often repeated saying, that it is unworthy a religious man to view an irreligious one either with alarm or aversion, or with any other feeling than regret and hope and brotherly commiseration.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘There is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man; also it may be said, there is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed. (Sir Walter Scott, in London and Westminster Review, 1838).
  • ‘Silence is deep as Eternity, speech is shallow as Time.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘To the very last, he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of la carrière ouverte aux talents, - the tools to him that can handle them.’2 (Idem.)
  • ‘Blessed is the healthy nature; it is the coherent, sweetly co-operative, not incoherent, self-distracting, self-destructive one!’ (Idem.
  • ‘The uttered part of a man’s life, let us always repeat, bears to the unuttered, unconscious part a small unknown proportion. He himself never knows it, much less do others.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘Literature is the Thought of thinking Souls.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘It can be said of him, when he departed he took a Man’s life with him. No sounder piece of British manhood was put together in that eighteenth century of Time.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘The eye of the intellect “sees in all objects what it brought with it - the means of seeing.’ (Varnhagen Von Ense’s Memoirs. (Idem.)
  • ‘Happy the people whose annals are blank in history-books.’3 Life of Frederick the Great. Book xvi. Chap. I.
  • As the Swiss inscription says: Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden, - “Speech is silvern, Silence is golden”; or, as I might rather express it, Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.’ (Sartor Resartus. Book iii. Chap. iii.)
  • ‘‘The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.’4 (Heroes and Hero-Worship. “The Hero as a Prophet”.)
  • ‘In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream. (“The Hero as a Man of Letters”.)
  • ‘The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.’ (Idem.)
  • ‘One life, - a little gleam of time between two Eternities. (Idem.)
  • ‘Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity there are a hundred that will stand adversity.’ (Idem.)
  1. ‘How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?’ - Shaftesbury: Characteristics. A Letter concerning Enthusiasm, sect. 2.; ‘Truth, ’tis supposed, may bear all lights; and one of those principal lights or natural mediums by which things are to be viewed in order to a thorough recognition is ridicule itself. - Shaftesbury: Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour, sect. 1; ’Twas the saying of an ancient sage (Gorgias Leontinus, apud Aristotle’s “Rhetoric,” lib. iii. c. 18), that humour was the only test of gravity, and gravity of humour. For a subject which would not bear raillery was suspicious; and a jest which would not bear a serious examination was certainly false wit. - Ibid. sect. 5.
  2. Carlyle in his essay on Mirabeau, 1837, quotes this from a “New England book.”.
  3. Montesquieu, Aphorisms.
  4. ‘His only fault is that he has none.’ - Pliny the Younger: Book IX, Letter xxvi.
—John Bartlett’s Quotations, 1901.

Eyre Sq., Galway: Carlyle, viewing the crowds of idle men there, judged that they needed ‘picks, shovels, and men to guide them.’ (Q. source; quoted on the Irish E-List, Virginia, 13.09.1996.)

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