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for sale in the place; and once, when Harper & Brothers' agent came to replenish it, he gave my father several volumes for review. One of these was a copy of Thomson's Seasons, a finely-illustrated edition, whose pictures I knew long before I knew the poetry, and thought them the most beautiful things that ever were. My father read passages of the book aloud, and he wanted me to read it all myself. For the matter of that he wanted me to read Cowper, from whom no one could get anything but good, and he wanted me to read Byron, from whom I could then have got no harm; we get harm from the evil we understand. He loved Burns, too, and he used to read aloud from him, I must own, to my inexpressible weariness. I could not away with that dialect, and I could not then feel the charm of the poet's wit, nor the tender beauty of his pathos. Moore, I could manage better; and when my father read Lalla Rookh to my mother I sat up to listen, and entered into all the woes of Iran in the story of the Fire Worshippers. I drew the line at the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, though I had some sense of the humor of the poet's conception of the critic in Fadladeen. But I liked Scott's poems far better, and got from Ispahan to Edinburgh with a glad alacrity of fancy. I followed the Lady of the Lake throughout, and when I first began to contrive verses of my own I found that poem a fit model in mood and meter.
Among other volumes of verse on the top shelf of the bookcase, of which I used to look at the outside without penetrating deeply within, were Pope's translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and Dryden's Virgil, pretty little tomes in tree-calf, published by James Crissy in Philadelphia, and illustrated with small copper-plates, which somehow seemed to put the matter hopelessly beyond me. It was as if they said to me in so many words that literature which furnished the subjects of such pictures I could not hope to understand, and need not try. At any rate, I let them alone for the time, and I did not meddle with a volume of Shakespeare, in green cloth and cruelly fine print, which overawed me in like manner with its wood-cuts. I cannot say just why I conceived that there was something unhallowed in the matter of the book; perhaps this was a taint from the reputation of the rather profligate young man from whom my father had it. If he were not profligate I ask his pardon. I have not the least notion who he was, but that was the notion I had of him, whoever he was, or wherever he now is. There may never have been such a young man at all; the impression I had may have been pure invention of my own, after the manner of children who do not very distinctly know their dreams from their experiences, and live in the world where both project the same quality of shadow.
There were, of course, other books in the bookcase, which my consciousness made no account of, and I speak only of those I remember. Fiction there was none at all that I can recall, except Poe's Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque (I long afflicted myself as to what those words meant, when I might easily have asked and found out) and Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii, all in the same kind of binding. History is known, to my young remembrance of that library, by a History of the United States, whose dust and ashes I hardily made my way through; and by a Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, by the ever dear and precious Fray Antonio Agapida, whom I was long in making out to be one and the same with Washington Irving.
In school there was as little literature then as there
is now, and I cannot say anything worse of our school reading; but I was not really very much in school, and so I got small harm from it. The printing-office was my school from a very early date. My father thoroughly believed in it, and he had his beliefs as to work, which he illustrated as soon as we were old enough to learn the trade he followed. We could go to school and study, or we could go into the printing-office and work, with an equal chance of learning, but we could not be idle; we must do something, for our souls' sake, though he was willing enough we should play, and he liked himself to go into the woods with us, and to enjoy the pleasures that manhood can share with childhood. I suppose that as the world goes now we were poor. His income was never above twelve hundred a year, and his family was large; but nobody was rich there or then; we lived in the simple abundance of that time and place, and we did not know that we were poor. As yet the unequal modern conditions were undreamed of (who indeed could have dreamed of them forty or fifty years ago?) in the little Southern Ohio town where nearly the whole of my most happy boyhood was passed.
CHARLES MILLS GAYLEY
One of the most infrequent blessings that this old world has to offer is the scholar who can appeal widely and yet not cheapen the quality or weaken the force of his material by the half-truths and irrelevancies of the average “popularizer.” Charles Mills Gayley's writings have been of incalculable service as guides to students, supplying information in attractive manner, disciplining the taste of readers, aiding their judgment, and stimulating them to further inquiry. Professor Gayley was born in Shanghai, China, February 22, 1858. He was educated at Blackheath, Ēngland, at Belfast, Ireland, and at the University of Michigan, with graduate study at Giessen and Halle. From 1884 to 1886 he was assistant professor of Latin, and from 1887 to 1889 assistant professor of English and Rhetoric in the University of Michigan. Since 1889 he has been professor of English in the University of California, and for a period of three years dean of the faculties, also, in that university. Professor Gayley is an active member of many learned societies and an honorary member of many others.
He has contributed verse and prose to several magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and The International Quarterly. He is author of various volumes in æsthetics and criticism, editor and joint author of others, and an able lecturer upon topics of education and literature. Among the volumes which reveal his scholarship as an editor are the five entitled Representative English Comedies. The most valuable work in which he was co-author is in two volumes prepared in collaboration with Professor F. N. Scott and entitled A Guide to the Literature of Æsthetics and An Introduction to the Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism. His most widely circulated book has been Classic Myths in English Literature.
AN INDIFFERENT GENERATION
THE world of learning was never better worth preparing for. Why is it, then, that from every university in the
1 From Idols of Education, in part a commencement address delivered at the University of Michigan in 1909 as a valedictory to James Burrill Angell, who was retiring from the presidency of the University after a service of thirty-nine years. Reprinted by permission of Charles Mills Gayley, an alumnus of Michigan, and Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Company.
land, and from every serious journal, there goes up the cry, “Our young people were never more indifferent.”
How many nights a week does the student spend in pursuits non-academic; how great a proportion of his days? What with so-called "college activities,” by which he must prove his allegiance to the university, and social functions by which he must recreate his jaded soul, no margin is left for the one and only college activity—which is study. Class meetings, business meetings, committee meetings, editorial meetings, football rallies, baseball rallies, pajama rallies, vicarious athletics on the bleachers, garrulous athletics in the dining-room and parlor and on the porch, rehearsals of the glee club, rehearsals of the mandolin club and of the banjo, rehearsals for dramatics (a word to stand the hair on end), college dances and class banquets, fraternity dances and suppers, preparations for the dances and banquets, more committees for the preparations; a running up and down the campus for ephemeral items for ephemeral articles in ephemeral papers, a soliciting of advertisements, a running up and down for subscriptions to the dances and the dinners, and the papers and the clubs; a running up and down in college politics, making tickets, pulling wires, adjusting combinations, canvassing for votes-canvassing the girls for votes, spending hours at sorority houses for votesspending hours at sorority houses for sentiment; talking rubbish unceasingly, thinking rubbish, revamping rubbish --rubbish about high jinks, rubbish about low, rubbish about rallies, rubbish about pseudo-civic honor, rubbish about girls ;—what margin of leisure is left for the one activity of the college, which is study?
In Oxford and Cambridge, than which no universities have turned out finer, cleaner, more manly, more highly cultivated, and more practically trained scholars, states