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Edinburgh

LIVRARY

OF THE

SITY OF MICHIG

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A SERIES OF ESSAYS ON LIFE, LITERATURE, AND MANNERS.

By the Author of 'The Caxton Family.'

POSTHUMOUS

PART XVII.

NO. XXIII.-POSTHUMOUS REPUTATION.

reputation !

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can honestly say that posthumous sharp pang to his human heart. reputation, in one sense of the He does not take leave of the earth phrase, is of no value in his eyes? without the yearning hope to retain If it were only heroes and poets, a cherished place in the love or those arch-cravers of renown, who esteem of some survivors, after his cared what was said of them after remains have been removed into death, our village burial-grounds the coffin and thrust out of sight would lack their tombstones.. A into the grave. The last "Vale" certain desire for posthumous repu- were, indeed, a dreary word withtation is so general that we might out the softening adjuration, "Sis fairly call it universal. But I shall memor mei." Even criminals themattempt to show that, being thus uni- selves, in that confusion of reasonversal, it springs from sources which ing which appears inseparable from are common in human breasts, and crime, reconciled, in death as not from that hunger for applause life, to names scorned by the honwhich is the exceptional character- est (who to them, indeed, form istic of the candidates for Fame. strange and foreign race), still hope It grows out of the natural affec- for posthumous reputation among tions or the moral sentiment, rather their comrades, for qualities which than the reasonings of intellectual criminals esteem. ambition.

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The Pirates in Byron's poem are not content to sink, without such honours as pirates afford, into the ocean that "shrouds and sepulchres their dead."

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in the the craving, not of the heart nor of the moral sentiment, but rather of the intellect, and therefore limdat. ited to those who have the skill de and the strength to vie for the or palm awarded to the victor only when his chariot-wheels halt and the race is done. Competitors are many; victors, alas! are few. Out wer banish a de- of all the myriads who have ten⚫ the affec- anted our earth, the number even where is the of eminent intellects which retain trued throughout place in its archives is startlingly The vast democracy of the

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car turn cynic small.

she say. Let me dead are represented by an oligarchy the profitable credit to which that of Venice was liberal. Ns and care pot if, after Although successive races of labori

IT name be held that of a

ous compilers and reverential antiquarians do their utmost to prein dusty shelves the bones

as then, however humble, serve

fur coret posibamous reputation and fossils of every specimen of That we would fain be spoken and man which has left a vestige of its thenght of with affection and esteem being in the layers and strata of Er those whose opinions we have the past, it were as well, to a lover piced, even when we are beyond of fame, to sleep in his grave igthe sound of their voices and the nored, as to be dishumed a forcasp of their hands. Such reputa- lorn fragment of what he once was, tion may be (as with most of us it and catalogued alphabetically in a is) but a brief deferment of obli- Biographical Dictionary. cel and effacement of our footprint loud with "the immense desire of month, a day, before the final can- poet whose heart is now beating kindly reminiscence in some human angel lifts the veil of Futurity, and on the sands of Time. But some praise," to whom his guardian hearts man intuitively yearns to saith, "Thy name shall be prebequeath; and the hope of it com- served forts him as he turns his face to place in yon compendium of em

rion-the suspense of a year, a

the wall to die

Let us suppose some youthful

from oblivion. Lo! its

balmed celebrities, which scholars

to the great mass of our species, it thy decease.

must evidently rise out of the affec- The poet (his name be Jones) reads as But if this be a desire common shall compile five centuries after tions common to all-it is a desire follows under the letter J :—

for love, not a

buvus

thirst for glory.

Read and exult!"

"Jones, David, a British author

understood by the phrase of post- many poems much esteemed by his This is rot what is usually meant and in the reign of Victoria I. Wrote reputation; it is not the contemporaries, some few fragments accorded to the exceptional of which have been collected in the intelligences which soar recent Anthology' of his learned And and ingenious countryman, Profes the level of mankind. approach a subject of no gor Morgan A preece; and, though

ng speculation - viz., the characterised by the faults preva

between that love for lent in his period, are not without

*s though brief repute elegance and fancy. Died at Caer

emanates from the affections marthen A.D. 1892."

moral sentiment, and that posthumous and lasting which has been considered

Such would be a very honourable mention more than is said in a Biographical Dictionary of many a

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