Poems and Prose Remains, Vol. I


From 1829 to 1836.


Arthur Hugh Clough

To his Sister.
Chester: May 15, 1829.                
DEAR ANNE,—I received your kind letter by the barque Melantho, after an extremely long voyage. Charles received one on the same day from uncle Charles, intimating that we were to spend our vacation at Easter with him at the vicarage. During the Easter holidays, which we spent very pleasantly at Mold, I had plenty of leisure for drawing. Two men were hung here lately for robbing an old clergyman. We have bought a book entitled ‘The Newtonian System of Philosophy,’ which treats chiefly of the power and weight of air; the cause of volcanoes, earthquakes, and other phenomena of nature, such as lightning, the aurora borealis; also a description of the sun, planets, their moons or satellites, constellations, comets, and other heavenly bodies; likewise of air-guns, balloons, air-pumps; also a very pleasing one of snow, hail, and vapours. It also describes electricity and magnetism, and gives a brief account of minerals, vegetables, and animals.

The summer vacation is now just approaching, after which time we shall be conducted either by uncle Alfred or uncle Charles to Rugby, which is not far from Leamington, at which place cousin Eliza is at school.

Were you not grieved to hear that magnificent building York Minster had been partly destroyed through the destructive means of fire?


To his Mother.
Rugby: May 15, 1830.        
DEAR MAMMA,—I am glad to tell you that both Charles and myself have been removed out of the third form into the lower fourth; we enjoyed uncle Alfred’s company (he was steward to the Easter Meeting at Rugby) and also the speeches and holidays very much. There were four prizes. There was also a prize for boys in the fifth form, which was gained by Stanley for an English Essay ‘On Sicily and its Revolutions.’ These were all recited by their different writers on Wednesday in Easter week. After the four first had repeated their poems and read their essays, Stanley came forth and read his essay. Unfortunately the prizes had not arrived, and therefore Dr. Arnold was obliged to postpone the delivery of them. One morning, however, at prayers, we saw a great many books in extremely handsome bindings; and after prayers, Dr. Arnold gave them to those for whom they were intended.


School House, Rugby: May 28, 1833.        
. . . I have gained one place in the form by this examination, and I shall certainly be in the sixth form next halfyear. I am now seventh, and ten at least of the Præposters leave either now or at Lawrence Sheriffe.1


To his Brother George.
School House, Rugby: October 13, 1834.        
MY DEAR GEORGY,—You say you do not like your school even so well as you did last year. I believe that it is worse than many places, but even here at Rugby, the best of all public schools, which are the best kind of schools, even here there is a vast deal of bad. It was but a few nights ago that a little fellow, not more than thirteen at the very most, was quite drunk, and that for the second time in the last year. I do not know that there is here much of the low mean spirit (which I fear you have so much of), but it must be remembered that Rugby is far better off in this way than most schools.


To the same.
School House, Rugby: March 4, 1835.        
MY DEAR GEORGE,— . . . I was a little anxious about you, but little did I suspect what was the case.

A rebellion is a fearful thing, a dreadful, but it was sent for good. I cannot tell you how anxious I was when I began your letter, and as little can I tell you how overjoyed, how relieved, I was when I got through it. My dear dear George, God gave you the trial to settle your character, and I only wish that you had been more decided, as decided in your party as the boy you mention, and then how much happier you, would have been. But as it is, the second temptation was resisted, and I only hope that the trial has given you strength to go on in the right way.

How glad I shall be, George, when this travelling about will be over, and we shall be all quiet at our home—the first time we shall have had one for many years. Heigh-ho! this is a delightful idea.


To his Mother.
Jesus College, Oxford: July 9, 1835.        
The exhibitioners this year are Lake, Penrose, and Gell. We had an extremely pleasant time up at Rugby at the examination, as the Oxford Vacation was just beginning, and we had six or seven old Rugbeians down, and in so busy and exciting a time their company was a great relief. I had not been very well after Easter all along, but I believe that time did more to make me well than all the physic which has lengthened the doctor’s bill to a most boa-constrictor-like size. I have been in one continued state of excitement for at least the last three years, and now comes the time of exhaustion. When you all come over next year, and I get home at last, I do think this will end.

I must send you our ‘Rugby Magazine,’ which I beg you will patronise with all your might, though I suppose your canvassing materials in America are rather small.


To his Brother George.
School House, Rugby: September 13, 1835.        
. . . . . . Only remember—don’t be indolent, George; you recollect what I told you about that family failing. Idle, I do not think you will be; but take care you never say, ‘It is too much trouble,’ ‘I can’t be bothered,’ which are tolerably old favourites of yours, and, indeed, of all who have any Perfect blood in them.

. . . . . . No doubt you will feel very much the loss of any one to talk to about religion, but let this, my dear George, only make you keep more close to God; and if still—for I know that our weakness does often want more direct and visible aid than this, and that our minds are too imperfectly brought to righteousness and goodness to be continually talking even with our kind Father God, just as you would wish to talk to those of your own age sometimes, and not always to those above you only, however much you might love them—if you do still want some one to talk to, you have only to write to me, and I shall be sure to answer you within a week or two. Remember too, that if the school is bad, it is no reason, no excuse for you to do as they do. Remember, they are not many, and Jesus said that a little leaven leavens the whole lump: now, do not think that I am telling you to put yourself forward as a kind of apostle or missionary to them. Only go on without fearing or shrinking in any point from your duty; do not mind their knowing that you are trying to serve God.

The magazine prospers; it will probably be out on the 1st October. ‘Egmont’ will appear, and one or two other things of mine. I assure you I have enough to do. I sometimes think of giving up fagging hard here, and doing all my extra work in the holidays, so as to have my time here free for these two objects—1st. The improvement of the school; 2nd. The publication and telling abroad of the merits of the school by means of the magazine.


To the same.
School House, Rugby: October 11, 1835.        
Simpkinson left me last Monday for Cambridge, and his absence has made me head of the school-house, which is an office of considerable trust and great difficulty. Indeed, you could not do better than try to win the liking and esteem of your schoolfellows by being as kind to them as you can. I hope I am trying earnestly to do the same. But there is one danger in this occupation which assails me, at least, very often; and that is, the danger of carrying our wish too far. And remember always, that to be liked is not the thing we should wish for on its own account, but only because it will make it more easy for us to do good to those who like us. Try, my dear George, to be as active in this good work as you can be; only take care that you have a few moments to yourself with God every day; so that you do not forget Him in your more active employments; if you do these two things I do not think you will be likely to fall into any more stupors, as you call those states of mind, which I very well know and have often experienced. As soon as you feel anything of the kind coming on, go and do something, no matter what, which will employ you actively. Perhaps, if you do some kindness to a schoolfellow, or resist him in some evil practice, you will feel this go down very rapidly. You never told us how your school-work is getting on do you do any Euclid now? I have not heard from America lately; the last letter I had was from my father, dated at Saratoga. Tell me when you write all about No. II. of the ‘Rugby Magazine.’ It is very much liked here, better than the first, and we have had intelligence of its being thought very well of in the literary circles in London. I only hope it will not decay under my hands; for I have got the management of it almost entirely by myself


To his Sister.
School House, Rugby: October 10, 1835.        
My oldest and only friend, Simpkinson, is just gone to Cambridge, and there are also two or three more gone whom I knew and loved better than the rest; so that I am now quite alone, and am doomed so to remain for two long years.

I see, however, quite plainly that this is far better for me, for now I shall not fag so much, as being of necessity thrown much more with other fellows, and wishing now most earnestly to know as many as possible; for there is a deal of evil springing up in the school, and it is to be feared that the tares will choke much of the wheat. There is a great deal of good in the top of the school, but then it is what may be called disagreeable good, having much evil mixed with it; especially in little matters. So that from these persons good is disliked. I am trying, if possible, to show them that good is not necessarily disagreeable, and that a Christian may be, and is likely to be, a gentleman; and that he is surely much more than a gentleman.


Monday, October 12.        
The nights (that is, after locking-up time) are getting very long, beginning as they do now from a quarter past six; so that I have a great deal of time in my study, and am almost more by myself than I wish. Sometimes, when I am thus alone, I long very much indeed to have you all over here; for before Simpkinson left, Rugby was almost like a home to me, and now I feel the want of a home far more than I ever did before; so that I cannot tell you how welcome next summer will be to me. Even the holidays without you seem a thing to be looked forward to very much, which they never did before, except last half-year, when I was unable to work. I am very tolerably well now, and think I have recovered altogether, though I verily believe I shall not be able ever again to fag so much; indeed, I shall never wish to do so in the same way. You will understand a good deal of the way in which fagging hard is so frequently ruinous both to body and mind, from an article in the ‘Rugby Magazine,’ No. III., which I hope you will like as much as the people on this side the Atlantic (I mean the article entitled ‘A Schoolboy’s Story’); I think you will see a good deal in that to explain it.

By this time, I suppose, you are back in Charleston, and ere long I shall have heard the full account of your trip to Lake George. I had a great deal of pleasant travelling myself in the summer, particularly in that part of my journey which took me from Oxford through Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, to Beaumaris. I met a very curious animal in the coffee-room at the Shrewsbury inn, a German merchant’s son from Bremen. He was very ignorant and very intelligent, so that he was also very amusing. At one time he made me think him half an idiot, at another he seemed quite clever. Probably he had never been out of a counting house in his life before; at any rate, his observation must have been very limited, for I went to show him Lord Hill’s column, and as we were walking up to it, he said, ‘Well, that is very beautiful, very big,’ and a moment or two after, ‘and it gets bigger as we come nearer!’


To J. P. Gell, Esq.
School House, Rugby: October 24, 1835.        
I do wish that I could be acquainted and intimate with a great many fellows, but I really have not time; and here is another advantage on the side of evil, that bad characters are also idle, whereas good characters are industrious, so that when a fellow wants a companion he is much more likely to pitch on a bad than on a good one. I am afraid that writing or thinking much about these things does me harm. I only wish you would write to me about it, for your letters always put me more on my legs. Do you remember what Arnold says (Sermons, vol. iii. Introduction) about the enduring value of the ancient philosophical and historical works? Well, I really think that letters from fellows who have left act much in the same way, keeping one’s mind ‘fresh and comprehensive.’ So spare not pen and paper when you can spare time.


To the same.
School House, Rugby: November 9, 1835.        
. . I have to take care lest the excitement should carry me away; for though assuredly there is no Simpkinson here, nor Vaughan, nor Burbidge; yet it is most easy to find excitement, on the one hand, in fagging, and on the other, in associating with fellows for their good, which is a more dangerous employment than I looked for; there is such an excess of acquaintance and such a lack of friends here; nobody to look up to in one’s common school-dealings, and so much to look up to at times in Arnold, that it is no easy matter to ‘keep a level temper,’ as young —— used to say. Sometimes all seems so very bright, the little good one has done seems so great, and the good one hopes to do so certain, that one gets quite elevated; then there soon follows the exhaustion, and I think it is no use trying; and in the meantime copies, &c., have been accumulating and I am obliged to set to, though the true cure of such a state is forcing oneself to try even against hope. Besides, there are all the letters from Oxford and Cambridge, than which more exciting things were never created.

I don’t know which to think the greatest, the blessing of being under Arnold, or the curse of being without a home.


To his Brother George.
School House, Rugby: November 15, 1835.        
. . . I am very sorry to hear you say that you are sinking; why do you not tell me your difficulties? You say you do not like the boys about you; indeed, I dare say you have good reason for not liking them, but wherever you go this will always be the case; you can never expect to have only good people about you, so do not let this discourage you. My dear George, do, I beg you, strive to keep yourself up; do resist your indolence and your fearfulness; do exert yourself, and keep doing your work actively. I say this because I know that indolence is the common fault, as I told you, of all who have any Perfect blood in them; and therefore you ought to, and must strive against it, or else it would have been better for you never to have been born, for you will be yielding to the devil, and become his slave. You must not think of God only as your loving Father and Friend, though He is so much so, but also as your Judge; as one who is so holy and pure that He cannot bear any sin in this world of His; and who, at the same time, is so powerful as to be able to inflict the heaviest punishment I should suppose that you did not think enough whenever you do anything wrong, my dear George, how God must hate it. Do try and so act as to remain in His love. To be sure, you cannot do this of yourself, but though you do require God’s assistance, yet He will not give that assistance unless you do your part, and exert yourself to do good. Before long, you will no doubt be confirmed, and then you will be able to go to the Sacrament, and thus you will gain strength more and more continually, by being continually reminded of Christ’s goodness to you. Till that time comes, if your struggle is not easy, yet still it is not too hard for you, when God is ever ready to assist you. I know very well that you do feel this in your heart, my dear George, but you must try and do more. I have no doubt that sometimes you do wish to be good with all your heart, and do love God very much. But you cannot feel strongly all along, so you must make up your mind to it, which is much steadier than the heart, and pray earnestly that you may know with all your mind the necessity of doing God’s will. I am not sure that this is what you want, I am writing rather at a venture; but there is one way in which I can help you, and you me, and that is by praying for each other to God, who knows all we want; this I hope you do.


To his Mother.
Finch House, near Liverpool: December 1835.        
To-day is Monday, and during the last eight or nine days I have had as many changes of place and companions as I ever remember, and have had a right busy and exciting time of it. On Friday evening before last, our great examination closed, and I was not a little disappointed, thinking that I ought to have done better. Then on Saturday one of my Oxford friends came down (Lake), and this of course made a great change, and raised my spirits as high as before they had been low. In the evening the class-paper came out, and I found I had got all I had hoped for, and also that I was head of the form in composition marks, thus securing two prizes; then I dined at Arnold’s, and had a very pleasant evening. Then followed all the misery of the last night—noise, noise, noise of preparing, and wishing good-bye, &c., till twelve o’clock and after; followed at two o’clock by the still greater noise of going. After my two hours’ sleep, I had a busy morning of breakfasting with my tutor, of paying off window bills, &c. &c., packing up, &c. &c.; and so on till twelve o’clock, when I dined out, and returned to the school at three o’clock calling-over, wished the fellows good-bye, and waited for the coach till four in the school field. In a short time your old friend the Oxford and Leicester Regulator—vulgarly termed the Pig—transported me to Leicester, and here I found myself in a completely new world, at a house I was strange to, with my old school-fellow Burbidge correcting the proofs of No. III.. of the ‘Rugby Magazine.’ Next day at 10 P.M., we were joined for an hour by two more Cantabrigians (Vaughan and Gell), which was very delightful indeed. Well, not to trouble you with a further account of what we did at Leicester, on Friday night after walking for two and a half hours along Leicester streets (for the coach should have started at half-past ten, and did not till one o’clock), I began a long journey to Liverpool. After one of the coldest and bitterest nights I ever remember, and a day not much less so, I found myself about 3 P.M. at the end of the lane by the fifth milestone. I must go a little further and tell you what we are going to do these holidays. George is now in Chester; he is going to Mold on Thursday the 24th inst., where I shall join him the same day. Hence after a few days we shall proceed to Min-y-don2 for ten days, and thence again he will return here, and I shall probably go to Chester.

I suppose we shall have a regular rambling time of it, which I dare say will be pleasant enough in its way; but I cannot tell you how very, very much I long for next summer, even on this ground only, that then we shall have done with this way of living. I am quite well now, and shall be, I hope. I have not been so hard at work this last half-year, and that may have something to do with it. But I think it is a good deal owing to my having to go about with other fellows more than I used to do, and this will be the case for some time now. I have, however, to look forward to a very busy half-year; but as it will not be my last half-year, I need not be very anxious about it or excited in it. I shall have another Easter and another Exhibition time after this; but I must do my best to be ready for next November, when I shall go up for the Balliol scholarship. At any rate, my dear mother, it is no long time now before July comes, and time passes very quickly, at least I find it does to me now. It seems now that there is nothing wanting to make my earthly happiness complete, so far as it can be complete, that will not be given me next summer, though indeed even now I can see some flaws in it. But there will be so many and such friends at Cambridge and Oxford, and so happy a situation at school where I know that I am loved by many, and where I am ever living under and gathering wisdom from a great and good man. Such a prospect makes one tremble, for it seems to be too fair for earth: at least it makes one resolve to do all to fix one’s affections on things above, lest God should see that such fortune was too great for one, and that one could not bear it.


To his Sister.
Mold Vicarage: December 30, 1835.        
I have some difficulty in prevailing on George to do what he does not like (i.e. read) for an hour and a half in the day. But I hope and believe he is much better at school than he is in the holidays: indeed I think it is very natural he should be so. And it is wonderful what a degree of kind and affectionate feeling he has; only fancy, for six or seven years he has been treasuring up his money in the savings’ bank, and now it is all spent to buy me a watch. On Christmas day I found a little paper box on my plate at breakfast, and on opening it first came a quantity of brown paper, then a note, then the ribbon, and at the, bottom a gold watch.

The examination went off very well for me last half-year. In regular work four first-classes, in composition, divinity, classics and history; I might have got two more in modern languages and mathematics. In extras I got two first-classes, which was all I tried for, and which will give me a prize. I shall also get a prize for being among the four first in the composition of the half-year in the sixth: which means the Latin, prose and verse; Greek, prose and verse; English, prose and verse, which we have done in the half-year.


To J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
Stanley Street, Chester: January 18, 1836.        
I am most utterly busy now at Niebuhr for November, which time is very much in my thoughts. The bare idea of missing is horrible, and I have not done a page for the magazine as yet, though I have great hopes of writing a good deal. As to Q., you know he invited me to his house this winter, so I suppose he has taken a great fancy to me. He is disagreeable sometimes, and is rather narrow-minded, or rather narrow-notioned; and having said so much ‘con,’ I might say a great many ‘pros,’ but it is this very narrowness of ideas which prevents one loving him. Such people have no idea that it is anything approaching to a duty to make oneself agreeable; they have a great deal too much of the itch to become martyrs and undergo persecution. Even two or three years under Arnold have not wholly eradicated this notion in Q. himself; but if he goes, as I believe he does, to Balliol, he will, I trust, soon lose it, as I think he is sure to be admitted into the High Arnold set that is just germinating at Balliol under the auspices of Stanley and Lake. . . . You know how differently a boy regards home when he has once been to school. The kind of passive and almost apathetic feeling (to indulge in a bull) which he before had becomes high, steady and active feeling and principle. I will not say that my feelings towards him are so personal as they are to some others, because they are so closely connected with Arnold, but I am very much attached to him. . . I verily believe my whole being is soaked through with the wishing and hoping and striving to do the school good, or rather to keep it up and hinder, it from falling in this, I do think, very critical time, so that all my cares and affections acid conversation, thought, words and deeds, look to that involuntarily. I am afraid you will be inclined to think this ‘cant,’ and I am conscious that even one’s truest feelings, if very frequently put out in the light, do make a bad and disagreeable appearance; but this however is true, and even if I am carrying it too far, I do not think it has made me really forgetful of my personal friends, such as, in particular, Gell and Burbidge and Walrond, and yourself, my dear S.


To the same.
School House, Rugby: Feb. 13, 1836.        
. . . . I am sure this constant writing of letters is not really a waste of time. Every one of us has much he needs to receive, and there are few who have nothing to give; and I, for one, cannot speak too highly of the good I have got from others in this way; it is such a constant correction of each other’s wild and foolish tendencies of mind, opinion, &c. I wish I could have come to Cambridge very much; but I do not agree at all in your second reason, viz. that it would make me discontented with the Balliol prospect. If I do get the scholarship, I shall not long one bit for Cambridge; no, nor do I think I shall do so, if I don’t get it. It is the very thing for which you uphold Cambridge which makes me prefer Oxford. At Oxford we only form part of a large set, and there is more hope there that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump, which is, I think, more useful than your scheme. To be sure, there will only be Stanley, Lake, Fox, Arnold, and myself; but then there are a great number of very nice men, with whom, I hope, we shall get more acquent, and this will be better. Do not think I underrate the blessing of Rugby friends; I am only anxious to give others that blessing. I have a great deal more to say, but I must go to the De Coronâ, i.e. first lesson, so good-night

Combe’s3 shop is delicious. So is the new Irish Title Bill—auctore Lord John Russell at least I am told so. So also is the fact that, malgré scandal, libels and lies, ‘Morning Herald,’ ‘Times,’ and ‘John Bull,’ the school is above 300. So also, I doubt not, will be the reading of ‘Knight’s Quarterly,’ which I have just got. So also (this is indeed a climax) will be Easter.


To his Mother.
School House,, Rugby: March 1836.        
. . . At last the prizes are over, and the last half-sheet of the Magazine, No. IV., is also sent off, I believe; and you can hardly fancy the feeling of this freedom, most unusual indeed to me. As for the prizes, I have this Easter got one, the Latin Verse; and a second for each of the others, viz. the Latin Prose and the Greek Verse, so that I shall still have two to try for next year; so that, of course, I am very well satisfied. I have been very well, too, on the whole; indeed I may say exceedingly welI, notwithstanding all the hard work, and happy too, though sometimes in rather low spirits, for I stand much alone in the school now, and I am afraid it is anything but good for me to be alone; but I hope I am conquering these fits, and I do not think they come nearly so frequently or so strongly as they used to do; and when you are come over and settled, I think they may cease altogether; if they do not, it will not be my own fault

Dr. Arnold, I am afraid, you know too little about yet to give him and his concerns much interest for you. Only if any rumours of ill-conduct as head-master here have crossed the Atlantic (I believe they have got a great way through the ‘Times’ and ‘John Bull’ newspapers), I might as well tell you that the Trustees of the School met last week in London, all being present except three of the twelve, and wrote a letter to the Doctor, saying that they had the most complete confidence in him; that the school was going on as well as could be expected, and that the discipline was perfectly humane. Lord Aylesford, one of the absentees, wrote still more complimentarily to him. It is, indeed, a marvel how any one could think of circulating such utter falsehoods and absurdities as have been spread about by different papers for the last three months. The school is certainly at this moment not at its very highest state of excellence, such as it was in two or three years ago, but there is a very great deal of goodness and talent springing up, I hope and believe.

From some cause or other, immense numbers left last Midsummer, and will again this coming one; and the sudden elevation this causes of a large number into the place of trust and authority renders the spirit of the highest class more childish and less sensible and manly than it used to be. These are things which no one can calculate on, though of the most material consequence to the well-being of the school, and only show the extreme difficulty of education. Only fancy, out of the thirty-two first in the school, I suppose just half (if not more) will go; and thus a full half of the sixth will be new and quite inexperienced, many of them quite young. Perhaps I let these things grow too much into everything else. Yet it is very fine and striking to see many of the best and cleverest Oxford and Cambridge men still watching with great interest all the little changes in the school, and still helping those that remain with their experience and wisdom.

I shall not be sorry to go to Oxford now, for I find Stanley and Lake like it very much; and I dare say Dr. Arnold will be a Bishop before long. I only hope it may not be just yet. I must, however, do my best to go there as I wish, viz. with a Balliol scholarship; and that not only for the honour’s sake, though the honour is the greatest part of it, but for the 301. per annum which, with an exhibition, will, I trust, all but pay my way at Oxford, as Balliol is 201. or 301. cheaper than any other college, I understand. What may come after this I know not; this is enough to look to as yet. And I mean, if possible, to have a quiet month for reading at Finch House before you come over.

Our Easter time is just beginning. Two of our University people are down already, Burbidge and Lake, and Gell and Simpkinson are to be here next Wednesday. From that day to its namesake of the first week after Easter, I suppose there will be little or nothing done but walking and talking.


To J. N. Simpkinson, Esq.
Rugby: 1836.        
You must not be angry at my turning back from the turnpike. I don’t understand Arnold’s saying what he did to Vaughan, for surely, at that rate, C. or S. (I don’t mean to be invidious on either university) might, if they ever came here, take fellows over by wholesale, without asking leave, for of course they are in the same position, relatively to schoolboys, as you or Vaughan. And I was thinking of a good deal of mischief that D. and others had done at Easter among the fellows by taking advantage of their being ‘gentlemen at large,’ so that on the whole you may see that I had something more like reason, at any rate, than mere scrupulousness about the letter of the law; though, indeed, the letter of the law is a very good thing, as the spirit is apt to vary with the interpreters, but what is written is written. I assure you I should have liked nothing better than to have gone with you to Dunchurch, and I reproached myself very much for not having asked Arnold, as I had meant to do, at first lesson.

Do you know that to-morrow the most liberal, or rather radical, measure is to be brought forward, of throwing open the Island to the fags? I am not quite so liberal as to vote for that, but I am afraid it will succeed. The reason of the attempt to open it is the establishment of these new gymnastic affairs-swings, vaulting poles, and all kinds of monkey-trick instruments, which excite a great desire in the fags for this privilege.


To the same.
Liverpool: July 16, 1836.        
Do you know I believe I am become quite a convert to the Cambridge set’s superiority, though, after all, Cambridge can never be equal to Oxford in the grandness of the idea of it I One may fancy Cambridge a very excellent and useful big place of education, but Oxford is the place for the education of statesmen and great political men; and the influence of Oxford and its place in relation to the commonwealth is far higher for good or for evil. Suppose Oxford became truly good and truly wise, would it not be far more important, and a far greater blessing than Cambridge in the same condition? And in this consists the superiority I used to stick up for of the Balliol set, because I believed them truly wise, and withal full of the Oxford public and political and national feeling. But to live in, and among, and as mere society, you are doubtless better and more delightful.


August 8.        
What a delightful thing it must be, being so near Fox How! I cannot, indeed, conceive anyone calling ‘the Dr.’ Tom, even at Fox How.


Rugby: September 23, 1836.        
We are all getting on very pleantly this half-year, and the school looks remarkably harmless, and everybody inclined to do their best and behave well, which is very delicious. We are not, however, by any means full—not more than 286, which will probably be raised to the full complement next half. Of course, we have quite a new sixth, and certainly an improvement. The night-fagging is at last abolished totally, except half-an-hour at the beginning. We have our supper in the most gentlemanly fashion, in the room together, on a tray with plates and knives, and we buy very good cheeses ourselves, and make a very sociable meal of it. And at last the dream of former days is becoming a reality; the Sixth Form Room is to be furnished; Arnold gives us 51., and the trustees advance the rest, except a small sum raised by immediate subscription. Also, at last, the new window is put up, and looks, I think, very beautiful. I am very happy and comfortable, and working pretty well.

1. Meaning the day of Lawrence Sheriffe, which is the foundation-day of the school.    [back]

2. Near Conway, a house on the seashore belonging to an uncle.    [back]

3. The Rugby bookseller.    [back]

Poems and Prose Remains vol. I - Contents

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