Lehrjahre and Wanderjahre 177
career. He had not yet realised that the social virtues were the products of a long evolution, he considered that mercy, justice and truth were absolute ideals, and that a knowledge of what they consist in was divinely planted in every human breast. The world for him was a degenerate world
" The heart of man is intellectualized,
"And the high souls of other days are gone."
Its salvation depended not on a forward progress, but on a return to some earlier ill-defined state, where conscience had held more complete sway, and Divine rule had been more fully recognised.
"Well may we loathe this world of sin, and strain "As an imprisoned dove to flee away; " Well may we burn to be as citizens " Of some state, modelled after Plato's scheme, " And overruled by Christianity, "Where justice, love, and truth, and holiness " Should be the moving principle of all, " And God acknowledged as its prop and stay. " I am no ingrate foster son to thee, " Granta, revered mother, in thy lap "Have good men grown to their maturity,
" Nourished and strengthened by thy wholesome lore,
And thence have proudly walked before the world "As statesmen, poets and philosophers. "Still thou art but a corner of the earth, " Wherein a penitent may weep and pray, "While all abroad is rough disquietude."
There is no doubt that Galton was at this time in a depressed frame of mind, and therefore too much stress must not be laid on such opinions as those conveyed above or in the words
"How foolish and how wicked seems the world, "With all its energies bent to amass "Wealth, fame or knowledge."
But the poem does form an index to his standpoint at that time, and enables us the better to appreciate those fetters from which, he tells us, Darwin's Origin of Species emancipated him (see p. 6). The time was yet distant when he too would hold that to increase the bounds of knowledge was, perhaps, the "most respectable task" a man could set himself in life, or when he would settle down to
P. G. 23