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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (March 1, 1891)
always frown at each other as they stand there in Homo, with
the graves of two faiths between; one dying, one long since
dead: he loved them both so well. Even the scars of
barbarian swords upon the polished marble lie half revered;
they were honest arms which struck those blows.
This reverential seriousness of disposition was character
istic ol him in literature, as in cvciything else, lie never
stiovc to please a pampered public. I lis genius was not the
tool of his ambition, but his religion, his god. Nothing has
so degraded modern lilcraluic as the desperate efforts of
modern writers to captivate the public, their watching the
variation of public taste, as a speculator watches the markets.
When Orpheus sings popular ballads upon the street corners,
he is a street singer, nothing more. The gates of hell do not
open at his music any more, nor do the damned forget their
pain in its melody. Carlylc went out alone into the soli
tude and wrestled with his great ideas, finding them diffi
cult to express in words, so great, so ungainly were they. He
little cared whether his books were popular, whether they
were even read. He wrote only that which was in him and
which must be written. In vain his publishers groaned over
his "terrible earnestness;" he would not laugh for them, lie
was always down in the chamber of the fates, at the roots of
Ygdrasil, the tree of life, which the Norns water day and
night, one with honey and two with gall, and it was a ter
rible thing to him that it was so. Milton says that the lyric
poet may drink wine and live generously, but the epic poet,
who sings of the descent of the gods to men, must drink
water out of a wooden bowl. He is the last poet who has
thought so, and he is the last poet who has given us an epic.
Carlylc's was one of the most unhappy temperaments. I Ic
never saw things as ullieis did; his wild fancy and bad diges
tion distorted everything. I writing, he does not willfully
exaggerate; he only portrays things as they seemed to him.
Like the old Anchorites of the Thebiad, he kept upon his
knees within his narrow cell until the outside world looked
supernatural to him. The little difficulties of his life were
to him actual demons anil powers of darkness sent to tor
ment him. His dyspepsia was an actual Tophet. How far
his ill health may have influenced his writings is not known.
Certainly not so far as some critics claim, who assert that
'Sartor Resartus" is but the result of a year of miserable
health, the morbid fancies oi a sick man. If so, it is a new
and pleasing feature of bad gastionomy.
He was proud to the extreme, but his love was prcdomi
nant even over his pride. He, himself, would suffer any pri
vation rather than sacrifice an ideal; but for his brother's
sake he wrote for money. It seemed to him like selling his
own soul. He wrote aiticlc after article for reviews, and cut
up his great thoughts to fit the pages of a magazine. No won
dcr he bated it; it was like hacking his own flesh, bit by bit.
to feed those he loved.
Throughout his entire life he was tormented by inter
fcrcncc. He was not the kind of a man to be popular, for
he was unwise enough to stand aloof from all sects and all
parties. None defended him. No one creed nor the doc
trines of any one sect were broad enough to hold him.
Like the lone survivor of some extinct species, the last of the
mammoths, tortured and harassed beyond all endurance by
the smaller, though perhaps more perfectly organized off
spring of the world's maturcr years, this great Titan, son of
her passionate youth, a youth of volcanoes, and earthquakes,
and great, unsystematized forces, rushed off into the desert to
He died as he lived. Proudly refusing a tomb in West
minster, as did one other great English writer, he was buried
out on the wild Scotch heath, where the cold winds of the
North sea sing the chants of Ossian among the Druid pines.
He lies there on that wild heath, the only thing in the Hrit
ish Isles with which he ever seemed to harmonize. He
dreamed always in life great, wild, maddening dreams: per
haps he sleeps quietly now, perhaps he wakes.
THE TRANSPIRATION OK PLANTS
OR TUB LOSS OK WATBR FROM PLANTS 11V KVAPORATION.
For the last two hundred years scientific men have been
engaged in trying to settle this apparently simple problem.
Dr. Alfred Hurgerstcin has recently published in Germany an
epitome of the literature of transpiration from 1672 to 1889.
He cites 244 publications from sixteen different languages.
Dr. Oscar Ebcrdt, in 1889, published in Germany a very
excellent critical study of the subject. These two papers
give a good idea of the present state of knowledge concern
ing the transpiration of plants.
While much has been written on this subject of the var
ious phenomena observed, still there is great difference of
opinion as to their meaning and cause.
The plant cell, like the animal cell, the unit of the organ
ism, is by no means a simple aflair. The cell-colony, or as
Hackcl calls it for plants, "the cellitpublic," is governed
by just as well established laws as is the republic in which
we lorm the units. 1 lie biologist, like the sociologist, must
deal not only with the individual unit but also with the com
binations of units into organisms.
A conception of the various minutely complicated prob
lems that come to the historian as he tries to trace the evo
lution ol n.itiuns fiotii primitive men, and to the sociologist
and political economist studying the relations of men to each
other and to their environment, will give some idea of the
problems which the biojogist must solve. In view of the
complexity of the subject it is not at all strange that two or
three hundred years of study has failed to solve all the prob
lems connected with the so called transpiration of plants.
One of the most important questions still to be settled is
the effect of light on transpiration. It is indeed well known
that the activity of transpiration is greatest in sun light, and
decreases rapidly as the intensity of the light decreases.other
conditions remaining constant. It is also known that differ
ent parts of the spectrum or elements of the solar ray have
different cflects on the various so called vital activities of the
plant. The vibrations of ether known as light and heat arc,
however, so intimately associated in the solar ray that it is
almost impossible to separate them. Whether, therefore, a
given reaction in the plant is directly or idirectly caused by
light or by heat, is still to be settled. When the cause is
Renown then comes the question as to hoit one or both of
these forces produces the given effect. It is known that cer
tain rays are absorbed by the chlorophyll or green coloring
matter in plants, other rays by the protoplasm at large.
Probably the rays absorbed by the chlorophyll are repre
sentcd in the plant by the manufacture of starch or its equiv
alent, and heat. But wh."t effect have these absorbed rays on
transpiration, if any, how is it brought about? The giving
offof water may be an important direct or indirect vital ac,-,
tivity of protoplasm and therefore of the plant, or it may be
an unimportant accompaniment of some vital activity
Which it is must still remain a question.
The relation of the stomataor breathing pores to transpir
ation depends in a measure upon the solution of the problems
mentioned above. The direct cause of the opening and clos
ing of the stomata is yet a question. When this is settled
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