Friday, November 23, 2007

Clough's Dilemma

[Arthur Hugh Clough To Rev. J. P. Gell.]

Liverpool: October 8, 1843.

do not think I am particularly inclined to become a Puseyite, though it is very likely my Puseyite position may prevent my becoming anything else; and I am ruminating, in the hope of escaping these terrible alternatives, a precipitate flight from Oxford, that is, as soon as my exhibition expires, for I cannot think of sacrificing 601. on any consideration. Also, I have a very large amount of objection, or rather repugnance, to sign ‘ex animo’ the thirty-nine Articles, which it would be singular and unnatural not to do if I stayed in Oxford, as without one’s M.A. degree one of course stands quite still, and has no resource for employment except private pupils and private reading. It is not so much from any definite objection to this or that point, as general dislike to subscription, and strong feeling of its being a bondage and a very heavy one, and one that may cramp and cripple one for life.

What to do, if I don’t stay at Oxford, is a very different question. I do not dislike the tutor’s work at Oriel, but without taking an M.A. I cannot go on with it; and if, as I supposed, I give up both this and residence, where to go and what to do will be a perplexity. However, I shall do nothing ωστε ανηκεστον τι παθειν before this time year; though, as to the tutorship, I shall probably have to decide before this reaches you.

I have employed this Midsummer vacation half in going abroad, and half with pupils at Grasmere. I left England, July 1, with Walrond; went to Havre, Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Genoa, Leghorn, where Burbidge joined us; with him we went to Pisa and Florence, and from Florence made excursions to the monasteries of Vallombrosa, Camaldoli, and Laverna. I was then ill for about a week at Florence; left Walrond and Burbidge, and started for England. I went by Bologna, Parma, and Piacenza, to Milan; saw the Cathedral, the most beautiful building I ever beheld, as also the Leonardo da Vinci, which is, I think, the most beautiful painting. Then I crossed the Simplon, went up the Rhone, over the Grimsel Pass, and one or two others in the Bernese Oberland, and so to Thun and Berne, and thence by Basle and the Rhine home. I liked Switzerland much better than Italy myself, principally, perhaps, because it was so exceedingly hot, and so impossible to enjoy exercise, in the latter; perhaps, also, in some degree, from being continually lionised about galleries and the like, which is far less agreeable than walking through the beauty of a country.

I went off directly after my return to Grasmere, where I had a party of pupils waiting for me, and there passed six weeks of a very pleasant mixture of work and walking about. Stanley was at Fox How for the last three weeks, working at the memoir.

We have all been reading a grand new philosophy-book, “Mill on Logic;’ very well written at any rate, and ‘stringent if not sound.’

-from Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough with a Selection from his Letters and a Memoir edited by his wife (London-2 vols.)

No comments: