The description and function of Clough's ambivalent poetry and its sources in his life and thought, with special applica...


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The description and function of Clough's ambivalent poetry and its sources in his life and thought, with special application to Dipsychus
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Haich, George Donald, 1928-
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To my wife, Gloria Haich, whose encouragement and loving

aid deserve a larger tribute than a dedication allows.



I wish to express my thanks to Professors Alton C. Morris

and Irving R. Wershow for serving on my committee. To my committee

chairman, Professor Edwin C. Kirkland, for his advice, understanding

and encouragement, I am deeply grateful.



DEDICATION... .. .. . ....... . .... ii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. . . . . . . ...... . . iii

ABSTRACT . . . . . w . . . . . . . v





BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . 161

VITA . . . B . . . . . . . . 167


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy



George Donald Haich

June, 1970

Chairmans Dr. Edwin C. Kirkland
Major Departmenti English

This dissertation is limited to Clough's ambivalent poetry

because an understanding of this characteristic mode of his poetic

statement permits a more just estimate of his poetic powers. In his

own time Clough was seen as a poet who, in some of his most character-

istic moods, refused to speak with a positive prophetic voice. While

the Victorians found this hesitancy unattractive, modern readers find

the uncompromising honesty of his intellectual self-examination ap-

pealing because Clough does not pretend to more assurance than he has.

Clough's ambivalent poetry is defined as that poetry which

presents two sides of an issue-sometimes by an objective statement

of both sides of the question but sometimes through irony and satiric

exaggeration-while yet not bringing the question to a final resolution

on either side. Such poetry is called Dipsychian because of its double-

minded attitude and because Clough gave the fullest expression to this

ambivalence in his poem Dipsychus. The reader of Dipsychian poetry is

presented with a full and complex expression of a question and at the


same time he is left totally free to form his own personal conclusion

about the issue itself. This effect upon the reader parallels the func-

tion which the ambivalent poetry served for Clough himself at the time

of his writing. Clough wrote most of his Dipsychian poetry during periods

of personal stress when the issues he treated in that poetry were for him

not resolvedi he used his poetry as a method by which he could examine

and consider the questions which troubled him.

The second chapter examines the primary internal tension that

generated most of Clough's Dipsychian poetry. This poetry, which was

for the most part written during the period from 1848 to 1852, reflects

Clough's concern at that time with the moral problem of how a man may

maintain moral purity and at the same time be actively involved with

the affairs of the world. This problem confronted Clough during this

period because, having left his somewhat sheltered position as an Oxford

don, he was forced into a more active involvement with life while at the

same time his common-sense appraisal of the realities of life and the

duty he felt to serve others as a practical expression of obedience to

God both seemed to force him into an active engagement with worldly af-

fairs. The basis of Clough's moral conflict is traced through his early

life and aspects of this conflict are examined in several separate lyrics.

Clough's often overlooked, strong sense of reality was grounded in his

personality and was one source of the sincerity which is a prominent

characteristic of his poetry. His concern for moral purity, while not

unusual for an earnest Victorian, was heightened by his contacts with

Dr. Arnold and W. G. Ward.

An examination of Dipsychus in Chapter Three demonstrates how

the tension so generated finds a typically ambivalent expression in a


lengthy and complex Dipsychian poem. The hypermoral Dipsychus provides

a characterization which embodies an extreme representation of the mor-

ally pure attitudes in regard to involvement with the world. The char-

acter, Spirit, presents an equally extreme picture of worldly, realistic

attitudes. The ambivalence in this poem is found in the balanced pre-

sentation of these characters and in the fact that neither by tone nor

attitude does Clough offer a resolution of the central question of the

poem. The conclusion of the poem leaves neither character fully vic-

torious, and its ambivalence represents Clough's own confusion on this

point at this period of his life.



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Robert Frost

Everyone is familiar with the mental processes which are

anterior to the final resolution of a complex problem. One's mind

searches out all the discoverable elements of the problem; the con-

sideration of alternatives, the balancing of opposing thoughts, the

evaluation of alternate modes of action. When sufficient reason is

found or when the urgent necessity for resolution forces one, a de-

cision is made. In the verses above, Frost records just such a

thoughtful period of hesitation before decision. The state of mind

that Frost here depicts is frequently found in the poetry of Arthur

Hugh Clough. Much of Clough's poetry is devoted to the delicate move-

ments of thought that are preliminary to decision. Examination of

Clough's lyrics often reveals a lyric which takes one side of a

question and then a subsequent lyric that appears to take an opposing

view. "Easter Day," for example, carries the refrain, "Christ is not

risen," and the next poem, "Easter Day II," has the refrain, "Christ

is yet risen." Between these two companion pieces the opposing thoughts

are balanced as Clough examines the nature of the resurrection. This

examination of issues by paired lyrics occurs elsewhere also as, for



example, in "Peschieria" and Alteram Partem where Clough weighs the

ultimate value of patriotic heroism. Furthermore, within single lyrics

he frequently takes one view of an issue, only to shift to another view

before the poem ends as he does in "Epi-Strauss-ium" or in "Is it true,

ye gods, who treat us." In Clough's long narrative poems the two sides

of an issue are most often embodied in two opposing characters as with

Dipsychus and Spirit in Dipsychus. In all such careful balancing of

thought, Clough can be observed tracing his own mental processes as he

seeks resolution of some problem or the discovery of some truth.

This obvious ambivalence has naturally puzzled many of Clough's

readers from the beginning and each age has responded according to its

intellectual predispositions. Clough's Victorian contemporaries, who

were being forced by the advance of science and historical criticism

into a religious insecurity as they felt the grounds of the ortho-

dox faith cut from under them, were usually disposed to see in Clough's

ambivalence the troubled mind of the religious doubter. Victorian

critics were frequently unable to apprehend that Clough was subjecting

religious issues to a coolly rational examination while maintaining

a warmly positive attitude toward the underlying central truths of

the faith. When they saw John Henry Newman forcing himself out

of the Anglican communion by the rigor of his logic and when they

saw the logic of science speeding up the materialistic tendencies

which threatened Evangelical otherworldliness, the conservative re-

action was an understandable distrust of the results of logical exami-

nation of matters of faith. It was to be expected that they called


Clough a doubter. Even while James Russell Lowell praised Clough as

being representative of his times, he characterized Clough as repre-

senting "the doubt and struggle towards settled convictions, of the

period in which he lived."1 Lowell knew Clough well enough to recog-

nize that he was not a mere doubter but rather that he was struggling

toward settled convictions. A more typical Victorian view of Clough

in this regard is presented by the review of Ambarvalia in the Guardian

on March 28, 1849. There, though the reviewer praised Clough for

thoughtful power, he was disturbed by what he identified as Clough's

doubting temper and therefore he believed that the book was morally

dangerous, asserting that a wide circulation of these poems "will do

more harm than good."2 Such a response grows naturally out of the

general feeling of religious insecurity characteristic of the times.

A response to Clough's poetry which regards it as merely the

poetry of doubt, though widespread and certainly understandable in

the context of the Victorian Age, does not take into account at least

two very important matters. It omits both Clough's personal, positive

orientation towards Christianity and, more significantly, it omits

Clough's poetic expression of such positive orientation in poems such

as "Say not the struggle nought availeth." Therefore, would it not be

more accurate to suggest that though Clough subjected religious matters

to a searching scrutiny, he still held a living, personal faith in the

central Christian truths? Clough is probably not a poet reduced to

doubt and despair by the destruction of his early orthodox faith. In-

stead, his poetry can be seen as an examination of the religious issues

raised by his times. It is the record of the thought that proceeded

a religious and moral decision.

While a discussion of Clough must account for the ambivalence

in his poetry, there is a second matter which must also be examined

here. Largely on the basis of what they found in his poetry, Clough's

Victorian critics reached the conclusion that he was personally ir-

resolute. This conclusion is understandable in the context of one of

the major expectations that Victorians had for poetry before the eighteen-

seventies. From the early thirties thoughtful Victorians were expressing

the idea that the poet should be a prophet to the troubled times. They

saw the old traditions crumbling in the face of widespread social change

and, in the words of Carlyle, they looked to the writer to "by wise

teaching guide the souls of men."3 When the positive prophetic voice

which they had expected was lacking in Clough's poetry they looked at

his life with every expectation of finding him to be an irresolute man

who lacked the intellectual fortitude to seize upon decision in the

trials of his personal life. That early biographers, like Osborne,

could find what they could consider to be evidences of irresolution in

their examination of his life is not surprising. Beside the fact that

they were deliberately looking for such proof, the success of their

search was assured by the special character of Clough's life. His was

basically a life of thought rather than of action. Thus the main streams

of his life were hidden from view. Mrs. Clough identifies this char-

acteristic of Clough's life in a letter to C. E. Nortoni "It is so much

a hidden and inner life that it would require something like genius to

express it, I think."4 Since Clough's was an inner life, the decisions


arrived at were inner decisions and did not force themselves upon the

observation of biographers, and they were permitted to view Clough's

thoughtful consideration of both sides of issues in the superficial

light of personal irresolution. This approach was taken by many of

Clough's biographers. Osborne says of Clough that he was "a man who

made decisions with great difficulty."5 Again, later, when Osborne

concludes his biography, he summarizes what had become a sub-theme of

his book by asserting of Clough that "his name has been in danger of

becoming a byword for irresolution."6

Even some modern biographers still tend to view Clough as ir-

resolute. Kathaine Chorley's biography of Clough, though it is some-

times weak in its criticism of his poetry, provides, in the opinion of

Clough scholars, the most complete treatment of the facts of his life

so far written.7 Yet occasionally Chorley will lapse into viewing

Clough as an irresolute person. For example, towards the end of her

book she says of Clough, "Already in America, his indecision was

getting the better of him, so that he could not initiate any plan

which involved an active launching out."8 For the modern student of

Clough such a lapse could occur partly because of the inner nature of

Clough's life but also because of the earlier Victorian treatment of

Clough from that point of view. Yet when a modern scholar studies

Clough's letters, he is struck by the fact that in such personal mode

of self-expression the use of ambivalence is largely absent. Also,

when the modern scholar further observes that Clough rarely employs

ambivalences in his prose writing, he is forced to reassess the facile

assumption that Clough was indecisive. And there is a great deal to


support such a reassessment. The first piece of evidence to indi-

cate that Clough was far from indecisive is the obvious strength of

his will which is demonstrated in the moral and physical self-discipline

that he maintained from the time he was a boy at Rugby. Furthermore,

there is the resolute courage that characterized not only his inde-

pendence of thought, but was also apparent in his willing involvement

with both the Paris revolution in 1848 and the Italian revolution in

Rome in 1849, But probably most significant of all is the assessment

of Clough's friends and acquaintances. Palgrave, Matthew Arnold and

the many others who wrote of Clough in memoirs and letters after his

death returned over and over to the idea that Clough's death ended a

life that held much more than the usual promise for significant accom-

plishment. Nor was this a view which was prompted simply by the fact

of his early death. From the time when Clough had become Dr. Arnold's

prize pupil at Rugby and throughout his entire life thereafter, men

of accomplishment, such as Emerson, Dr. Arnold, and Tennyson, expected

Clough's life would yield great achievements. Surely such successful

and perceptive men as these would not expect a weak, indecisive char-

acter to accomplish much in life. Clough's undeniable courage and

independence of mind cannot co-exist within a character weakened by

basic irresolution. It therefore becomes impossible not to conclude,

as do some modern critics of Clough such as Michael Timko, that ir-

resolution could not be the character basis of the ambivalence in

Clough's poetry.9

From a consideration of the previous material it becomes ap-

parent that an adequate discussion of the poetry of Arthur Hugh Clough


must account for his poetic ambivalence without any distortion of his

true character in tracing the origins of that ambivalence. Further-

more, in the case of Clough, it is not wise to consider the poetry alone

and not consider the character of the poet. Houghton's The Poetry of

Arthur Hugh Clough does offer a close reading of many of Clough's

poems without reference to his life, but Houghton's otherwise fine

and insightful book is often limited by that critical self-restriction.

Moreover, Houghton is almost the only major critic of Clough to attempt

that sort of criticism--a fact that can be taken as a demonstration

that, more than that of many other poets, the life of Clough is a

major element in any general consideration of his poetry. Biographical

material, however, becomes especially important when the poetic method

finds its parallel and source in the life of the poet; Clough's ambi-

valence may be explained in great measure by the special personal

functions to which he put his poetic material. The examination of the

ambivalence present in much of Clough's poetry provides the key to all

of his poetic production because it points to those special circum-

stances that typically generated his poetic expression. Clough did

not write because he viewed himself primarily as a poet nor did he

often write out of the sort of overflow of feeling that one identifies

with the Romantic poets. Throughout much of his life he did not con-

sider publication of great importance although he did write a great

deal.10 Writing poetry, however, had a unique purpose in his life.

Poetry provided the proving grounds for Clough's thought.

From the time that he was a schoolboy at Rugby he was greatly interested

in contemporary political questions. Though politics are of secondary


importance in his poetry, they often formed the major substance of

his letters. Two of his four major works (The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich

and Amours de Voyage) are intimately involved with social-political

issues. Since social issues do inform a significant part of Clough's

poetry it is apparent that he did use poetry to express his social ideas.

The major problems, however, that Clough subjects to a poetic

scrutiny are not socio-political issues but rather religious and philo-

sophical dilemmas. As a concerned student of Christianity throughout

his life and as a teacher of philosophy, this is only to be expected.

Although many thoughtful Englishmen were concerned with these problems,

Clough did not treat these ideas simply because they were of general

concern; he dealt with them because they were of immediate, pressing,

personal concern. They were often treated in Clough's characteristi-

cally ambivalent fashion because Clough himself was at this time poised

in the thoughtful hesitation before decision. The strenuous intel-

lectual force which he employed in the balanced consideration of the

philosophical alternatives, and Clough's shifts from one to another

class of religious and philosophical problems under consideration re-

flect both the intensity and the progress of his concerns as his life's

situation was altered. The problems that he faced in Rugby were

naturally different from those he had to face in Oxford, or again

after Oxford, or those he faced when he returned from America. For

this reason the consideration of Clough's life becomes an essential

element in any full discussion of his poetry. The study of Clough's

ambivalent mind, as it probes the alternate sides of the problems he

faced on the testing ground of his poetry, leads to the very center


of his poetry though it must take into account his life and its his-

torical context. Clough's major ambivalent works of each period will

then bear a new significance when examined from a point of view that

at once focuses upon Clough's unique ambivalence and can demonstrate

how the problems he so considered were best treated by a man of Clough's

temperament, in that precise manner, at that particular time in his


The organization of "The Description and Function of Clough's

Ambivalent Poetry and Its Sources in His Life and Thought, with Special

Application to Dipsychus" is reflected in its title. Chapter One de-

scribes Clough's ambivalent poetry and discusses the uses the poet in-

tended such poetry to serve for himself and for his readers. Chapter

Two examines the influences and experiences which helped to create

the particular moral tension which Clough expressed in his ambivalent

poetry. The final chapter uses the ideas from Chapter One and Chapter

Two to show how well they work in actual application to a single poem.

The field is well prepared for this sort of discussion of Clough's

poetry. The texts of Clough's works have recently received modern

editorial reconstruction based upon a thorough reappraisal of the manu-

scripts. This editorial work is particularly important in Clough's

case because he himself saw so little of his work through the press.

Though the earlier text of Clough's works was assembled by his wife

and others, especially C. E. Norton, and saw fifteen editions between

1869 and 1930, sometimes these editors had suppressed whole sections

of certain poems and often they had added titles without any manu-

script authority. Therefore, the 1951 edition of Clough's poems has


become the authoritive text not only because it provides a better

text, but because it is equally valuable for the extensive quotation

in the notes of alternate readings derived from the manuscripts which

would not be otherwise accessible. Most of Clough's prose works, many

never before printed, are now gathered together in The Selected Prose

Works of Arthur Hugh Clough by Buckner Trawick. Mulhauser has gathered

Clough's letters in a two-volume edition which makes them for the

first time readily available. Mulhauser is also working on an edition

of Clough's unpublished notebooks and, though they are not presently

available to scholars, one can expect few surprises from them because

most of Clough's biographers have seen them and quoted from them. The

recent biographies by Goldie Levy and Kathariif Chorley and the French

study of Clough by Paul Veyriras provide more detail than the earlier

biographies by Osborne and Waddington. Thus the raw material for a

study incorporating Clough's life and thought in an examination of

his characteristic poetry is now available and forms a valuable aid

to the understanding of that poetry's ambivalent nature.



1James Russell Lowell, My Study Windows (Boston, 1871), p. 211.

2Katharine Chorley, Arthur Hugh Cloughi The Uncommitted Mind
(Oxford, 1962), p. 181.

3Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in
History (London, 1897), p. 162.

4Arthur Hugh Clough, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough,
ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser (Oxford, 1957), I, xiii.

5James Insley Osborne, Arthur Hugh Clough (London, 1920), p. 61.

Ibid., p. 183.

7Walter E. Houghton, "Review of Arthur Hugh Cloughi The Un-
committed Mind by Katharine Chorley," Victorian Studies, VI (September
1962), 92.

8Chorley, p. 355.

9Michael Timko, Innocent Victoriani The Satiric Poetry of
Arthur Hugh Clough (Columbus, Ohio, 1966), pp. 8-9.

10Walter E. Houghton, The Poetry of Cloughi An Essay in Re-
valuation (New Haven & London, 1963), p. 3 says that he counted the
total lines of poetry in the definitive editions--Arthur Hugh Clough,
The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, eds. Howard Foster Lowry, A. L. P.
Norrington and Frederick Mulhauser (Oxford, 1951) and Matthew Arnold,
Poetical Works, eds, C. B. Tinker and Howard Foster Lowry (London &
New York, 1950). Clough had 13,578 lines. Arnold had 14,023 lines.


The physical sciences have a system of closely defined terms

which are used strictly according to their definition, but since liter-

ary criticism has no such system, the critic must be particularly care-

ful about his use of terms, being especially sure that any terms he

employs will be clear to the reader. Accordingly, this first chapter

will largely involve definition and description. The matter that

first requires attention and delimitation here is the precise type

of Clough's poetry under consideration. Since Arthur Hugh Clough

wrote a wide variety of poems, ranging from the light-hearted de-

scription of Oxford college youths on vacation in Scotland, through

an extensive revision of Dryden's translation of Plutarch's Lives,

to a rendering of the classical myth of Actaeon's metamorphosis, it

is clear that the particular type of poetry dealt with here needs

specific definition. The poetry which was earlier called ambivalent

and referred to as the poetry of those mental states preceding decision

can be most accurately called Dipsychian because in Dipsychus Clough

gives it the fullest expression.

The shortest and most comprehensive definition of Dipsychian

poetry is that it is that poetry of Clough that presents a clear op-

position of viewpoints in a relatively equal balance without resolving

the issue on one side or the other. Houghton says of this poetry,

"We welcome his ZGlough's7 special capacity, so rare in his own age,



for double vision. He could see at least two sides to every question."1

This Dipsychian poetry is of two classes. The classes are determined

by the manner in which the balanced views are presented to the reader.

The first class of Dipsychian poetry presents the opposing sides by

direct statement as in Clough's narrative poems where he often puts the

opposing views in the mouths of opposing characters. Clough handles

the issue of social class in that way in The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich

when the student, Hewson, is often found arguing social questions

with the tutor, Adam. A similar balancing of views embodied in op-

posing characters is, of course, seen in Dipsychus when the worldly

Spirit confronts the idealistic and moral Dipsychus. Thus Clough's

narrative poems achieve a type of conflict which arouses intellectual

interest though the plot of the narrative may seem uncommonly static.

In shorter, lyric poems the direct statements are attributable to a

persona which the poet assumes. The pattern often is psychological.

The lyric will follow the turnings of the persona's thought as it

moves first one way and then another. A classic example can be found

in the conclusion of "Is it true, ye gods, who treat us."

If it is so, let it be so,
And we will all agree sol
But the plot has counterplot,
It may be, and yet be not.

Another part of this same lyric can conveniently serve as one

example of the second class of Dipsychian statement--the ironic. The

issue in "Is it true, ye gods, who treat us" is the question of whether

or not the poetic faculty is a divine vision or simply a singular physi-

cal and mental conformation that makes poetic production possible. In


the twenty-two lines preceding the four lines quoted above Clough has

presented each side, but in the presentation of each side Clough

employs an ironic tone that undercuts the presentation on both sides.

Clough uses an exaggeratedly exalted statement to mock the view that

poetry is a "divine vision" in a phrase such as "In our rapturous ex-

altation." He uses an equally exaggerated, coarse statement to show

the ironical tone in his presentation of the view that poetic power

derives from the physical-mental conformation makeup of the poet.

The coarse bluntness can be seen as ironically exaggerated when one

notices how Clough employs three major poetic devices to emphasize

the coarseness in one important word ("belly") in the line "Of the brain

and of the belly."3 The alliteration of the "b's" in words that re-

ceive a strong accent is one obvious way the word "belly" is empha-

sized. Its position at the end of the line also places a measure

of emphasis on it. The fact that it is a rhyme word gives further

emphasis and the fact that it is made to rhyme with "Shelley," the

idealist, brings out the coarseness by the contrast with its rhyming


A different kind of irony occurs in Clough's narrative and

dramatic poetry. There a subtle, dramatic irony is employed which

is used to clearly show that Clough himself is not fully endorsing

a character he presents. Jacob, in Clough's dramatic monologue of

the same name, is given additional dimensions by such dramatic irony

as seen in a few lines abstracted from the end of that ninety-eight-

line poem. In this section Jacob's grasping nature is set in ironic

contrast to his position as a chosen man of God and as patriarch of


Israel. Jacob's materialism and his supplanting of Esau are betrayed

in these lines which Jacob speaksi "To have done things on which the

eye with shame/ Looks back, the closed hand clutching still the prize!"

Such materialistic striving as that of Jacob is set in ironic contrast

with Jacob's proper kind of obedience to God when Jacob adds, "0 Godt/

I thank thee it is over, yet I think/ It /-he materialistic life7 was

a work appointed me of thee."5 It is a perfectly understandable and

human rationalization for a materialist such as Jacob to think that

God has somehow required his materialism but Clough has placed the

materialism in ironic juxtaposition with phrases such as "a work ap-

pointed" of God which betrays it as a rationalization. The concluding

four lines of the dramatic monologue point out Jacob's puzzlement at

the central enigma of his life as Clough's poem shows it--that though

he has striven to do his duty, Jacob is not satisfied with his life.

The irony is precisely that Jacob need not have striven and, in fact,

if he had not striven, his life would not have been so full of con-

flict and it would have been much more satisfactory to him. The main

significance of the poem is pointed out to the reader with the con-

cluding irony of the old and dying Jacob saying, "How is it? I have

striven all my days/ To do my duty to my house and hearth,/ And to

the purpose of my father's race,/ Yet is my heart therewith not satis-


The presence of dramatic irony in Clough's dramatic monologues

is not at all surprising, not only because dramatic irony is a fre-

quent device in that genre, but also because dramatic irony is found

abundantly in another poem which must have been in Clough's mind when


he wrote "Jacob." Browning's "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint

Praxed's Church" was certainly known to Clough. We can be sure of

that not only because Clough kept up with the current literary scene,

but Clough specifically mentioned Browning's series, Bells and Pome-

granates, in a letter to some publishers as a possible prototype for

Clough's and Burbidge's Ambarvalia'.7 The surface resemblance be-

tween the dying Bishop speaking to his "nephews" and the dying Jacob

speaking to his sons is itself significant. The use, however, to

which irony is employed marks the major contrast between Clough's

Dipsychian irony and Browning's use of irony. Houghton provides a

clue about "Jacob" when he writes, "Clough has all of Browning's

insight into the recesses of consciousness but none of his power to

create a living scene."8 That is not quite true. Clough can create

a living scene as Houghton himself says when he discusses The Bothie

of Tober-na-Vuolich, "...the sense of actual life is so firmly

created,"9 The more accurate statement would be that Clough does

not choose to create a living scene in "Jacob" because Clough

wishes to focus attention upon an intellectual problem. Clough is

interested in the problem that many Christians face in their obedience

to God. They wish to obey, but they are not given explicit instruc-

tions in the minutiae of their lives, and, consequently, they interpret

such lack of instruction according to the wishes of their own per-

sonal temperament. Thus Jacob found himself striving to gather ma-

terial advantage when he would have been given those necessary things,

as Abraham was, without scheming and strife,

Browning, on the other hand, was more interested in the irony


of a Bishop, who certainly should know better, living and dying as a

materialist. Browning emphasizes the ironies in the situation, such

as the inner conflict of the Bishop about the nephews' reliability in

regard to carrying out his dying requests and whether or not he should

tell his sons what they will need to know to fulfill that request.

Browning focuses attention upon the character of the Bishop and his

situation. Clough, however, focuses attention upon the intellectual

problem of moral obedience to God. That focus of attention is typi-

cally Dipsychian not only in the intellectual attention to a moral

problem, but mainly in the fact that one cannot perceive which side

Clough takes on this matter. Though Browning does sympathize with

the Bishop as a man, as he had to do to present such a magnificent

depth of perception into his personality, yet Browning clearly does

not endorse his materialism. Clough uses dramatic irony to a dif-

ferent end--toward ambivalence on the main question of his poem "Jacob."

This Dipsychian ambivalence underlines Jacob's view that there is no

solution to man's problem of obedience to God. Though Jacob felt

that he had done his duty as he should have, yet his heart was "there-

with not satisfied." If man had minute and specific instructions on

each detail of his daily life from God, he could be perfectly obedient,

but he would become an automaton. On the other hand, if man is to

use his human capacity to decide the course of his life, there will

inevitably be error and sin and his life will not satisfy his longing

heart. That is the paradox that the Dipsychian dramatic irony points

to in Clough's treatment of Jacob, and it is typical of Clough to


direct our attention to an intellectual apprehension of a moral pro-

blem as he does in "Jacob." Both major kinds of Dipsychian poetry,

the objective balanced statements and the use of irony, are designed

to appeal to the thinking mind rather than to either the sensuous mind

or the emotions of the reader.

The intellectual nature of Dipsychian poetry grows out of

Clough's careful presentation of mental experience. The processes of

the mind thus may often become more formative of poetic structure than

poetic conventions. In "Jacob," for example, Clough does not abstractly

balance the life of simple obedience to God with the life of scheming.

Instead, the form of the poem is created by Jacob's psychological pro-

cesses. Logical or formal principles do not, for example, determine

the basic order of ideas presented to the reader, but the mental pro-

cess of association controls the order of presentation of ideas in

the poem. The form of the resulting poem is not logical but associative

or psychological. Clough has the dying Jacob recall his own experi-

ences of "The first-born faith, the singleness of soul"10 and Jacob

contrasts that with his remembered necessity "To plot and think of

plots."ll There follows then a hint of a possible resolution of the

problem in Jacob's recollection of the vision at Luz, where God showed

how His angels go "On stairs invisible betwixt his fsic7 heaven/ And

our unholy, sinful, toilsome earth."12 This is the vision of God's

own presence within the problems of the "toilsome earth." But Clough

is psychologically accurate in showing that it was because Jacob

thought primarily of his troubles that he did not manage to incorpor-

ate that vision into his life, for Clough has Jacob turn promptly


from his recollection of the vision to his recounting of the many

troubles of his life. Because Jacob kept his eyes upon the earth he

was faced with the paradox of his life of duty leading to an unsatis-

factory life and the structure of the poem grows naturally out of the

natural processes of thought which a man like Jacob would follow in

considering this question. Such an accurate representation of the psy-

chology of a man's confrontation with a problem is generally a prom-

inent characteristic of Dipsychian poetry.

A matter which is closely associated with the description of

Dipsychian poetry is a general view of the effects that this kind of

poetry will have upon the reader, and,inasmuch as effects can be ex-

pected to flow from intentions, it is necessary to observe that "the

end of poetry for Clough is primarily moral."13 It would be quite

wrong to take Clough's moral intent in poetry to mean that he intended

to teach simple copy-book maxims, using poetry to decorate the common-

places of moralistic piety: instead, his aim is to plumb the problems

of existence that have always stirred and tantalized thinking men.

As Clough himself said, art's purpose should be "To sum up the large

experience of ages, to lay the finger on yet unobserved, or undiscovered

phenomena of the Inner Universe."14 The Dipsychian poetry can be seen

as a special case. While it fits well within Clough's view of the

moral purpose for poetry, the function of Dipsychian poetry is to pose

questions on either side of issues that were real and immediate to the

poet and to the society. These were issues that, because of their

nature, were not susceptible to simplistic solutions as, for example,

the problem of religious interpretation which Clough treated in a


Dipsychian manner in "Epi-Strauss-ium" and elsewhere. Strauss and others

had brought that problem to the attention of thoughtful Victorians, and

Clough personally had to face it both before and after he considered the

matter of his subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles.

The Dipsychian strategy of examination of issues by the posing

of the question was natural to Clough. Osborne observes that Clough

as a teacher at Oxford was "cautiously Socratic" in his teaching method

but this caution arose not from some fear of censor by the college

authorities but out of his conscientious attitude toward his students.15

He felt that he should not force an attack upon their views when they

differed from his own, but nevertheless that he should present matters

for their own full, thoughtful consideration. Norton, who observed

Clough's teaching while Clough was in New England, comments "that he

was much too long-suffering to youthful philosophical coxcombry."16

Veyriras, however, misjudges the character of English and American

college students when he concludes that Clough's "horreur du dogmatisme

dans tous le domaines 1'empechait d'acquerir cette autorite que tant

d'etudiants desirent."17 The evidence appears quite the contrary.

As one who knew him well at Oxford records in the "Memoir" in the Poems

and Prose Remains, Clough was "A most excellent tutor, and exceedingly

beloved by the undergraduates."18 There is much other evidence to sup-

port that view from, perhaps, less prejudiced sources. Thomas Hodgkin,

as a mature man, looked back on Clough's class in Aristotle as "the

most stimulating and fruit-bearing" of his college course.19 Another

of Clough's students, Sir Edward Fry, says much the same thing of Clough's

class, "Perhaps no class was ever more enjoyed by me or added more to


my store of thought and to the cultivation of the habits of my mind."20

In itself, the success or failure of Clough as a pedagogue would be

outside the scope of the discussion here, but when one recalls that

the Socratic teaching method in question is quite similar to the poetic

method under examination, and that Clough employed the Dipsychian poetic

method during the same period of time that he found teaching success

with a similar approach, then it becomes apparent that there may be

more than an accidental relationship between the two.

Walter Bagehot definitely links Clough's success as a teacher

with his gently questioning habit when he says, "Several survivors

may think they owe much to Mr. Clough's quiet question, 'Ah, then, you

think--?' Many pretending creeds and many wonderful demonstrations,

passed away before that calm inquiry."21 It seems quite likely, there-

fore, that Clough would have been told by his students about the bene-

fit they had received from this method, but even if he were not told,

a teacher could sense the method that worked well for him. It may be

that when Clough found himself facing a similar situation in his poetry

--when he wished to use poetry to stimulate thought on issues of im-

portance to him and that were of equal concern to his readers--Clough

either deliberately or unconsciously developed the Dipsychian poetry

on either the pattern of his successful Socratic teaching method or

for the same reasons that he used that Socratic method. The reason

for the questioning method in Clough's teaching is reflected in the

comments made about it. Sir Edward Fry said it added "to the culti-

vation of the habits" of his mind. Bagehot pointed out how it dis-

solved fallacious beliefs. Certainly, then, it can be assumed that


Clough employed his Dipsychian poetry to the same end and that it would

have the same effects. The two sides of an argument would be presented

without bias so one's resistance to the force of persuasion would not

hinder an open reexamination of the issue. The readers would become

involved in the intellectual issues and thus prepared to resolve them

for themselves.

Interestingly enough, the initial poem in the first volume of

poems Clough wrote presents one of the characters in the poem using

just such a Socratic technique of questioning. It is as if Clough were

giving his readers a hint of the purpose of the Dipsychian method with

the first poem he intended to present to the reader's eye--the poem

"The human spirits saw I on a day" in the Ambarvalia collection of

Clough's lyrics. As circumstances developed, The Bothie of Tober-na

Vuolich, though written later, happened to be published before Ambar-

valia, but Clough had intended Ambarvalia to be the first published

volume of his mature years.22

An examination of this first poem which Clough intended to

present at the beginning of his first publication of his mature poetry

indicates that Clough's poetic purpose is indeed moral though it may,

at first glance, seem sceptical and iconoclastic. The basic pattern

of the poem is that of "The Questioning Spirit" who approaches various

"human spirits" typical of all mankind, and asks them searching ques-

tions about their ultimate values in life. When we look at the textual

history it becomes clear that Clough intended that the philosophies

which the various human spirits held are all to be taken seriously,

to be viewed as sacred because Clough, when he described the "human


spirits" in an early manuscript sent to Matthew Arnold, had deliberately

used the Biblical number for sacredness.23 The first line then read

"Seven human spirits saw I on a day" and the use of that number was

carried out in the balance of the poem in lines 24, 41, and 42.24
Matthew Arnold, however, objecteds "Thol I still ask why 7. This is

the worst of the allegorical--it instantly involves you in the unneces-

sary--and the unnecessary is necessarily unpoetical."25 Lowry, in his

notes to that letter, suggests that Matthew Arnold was objecting to

the number seven simply because it was allegory. That may be true,

but it seems more probable that his objection was based upon the idea

that the notion of sacredness suggested by the number does not add to

our understanding of the poem. In his "Preface to the Poems of 1853,"

Arnold follows a similar line when he says, "What is not interesting,

is that which does not add to our knowledge of any kind...a repre-

sentation which is general, indeterminate, and faint."26 That Arnold

was considering the "human spirits" poem according to its overall

effect is apparent from the way he expresses his approval of its "The

7 Spirits Poem does well what it attempts to do I think...the feeling

is deep in the Poem, and simulffaneously7 runs clear."27 With a view

to the effect of the poem, Arnold's criticism is clearly correct. The

movement of the human spirits from "sceptic melancholy" to "true ig-

norance" with hope, obtained by following the philosophy of duty, would

not be helped by the allegory. Accordingly, Clough dropped it. For

our purpose in understanding this poem as an example of Clough's moral

intention in his poetry, the concept of sacredness suggested by seven,

with its Biblical overtones, is more important than it would be to


the general reader. The use of the "sacred" number indicates that

Clough did not intend to be lightly cynical; moreover, one of the

"seven spirits" is treated positively--the spirit that is identified

with "duty."

"Human spirits" who hold positive views about the nature of

reality and the worth of material acquisition, knowledge, strife,

passivity, love, or social conventions are each subjected to searching

examination by the questioning spirit, and each of the "human spirits"

is forced to admit that he cannot rationally justify his belief in

the philosophy upon which he has molded his life. They all reply at

last, "I know not," but nonetheless they wish to pursue life in their

old way, saying, "We know not, let us do as we are doing."28 But they

have been brought to a serious reexamination of their basic assump-

tions and, as the poem continues, it is clear that the questioning

spirit has taken the "human spirits" on at least the first step out

of their blind acceptance of unexamined philosophies of life. That

is exactly the purpose of much of Clough's Dipsychian poetry. Clough,

like the questioning spirit, forces his reader into a searching re-

examination of the philosophy that the reader has adopted in an un-

thinking sort of way. For poetry to bring its readers to the point of

intellectual reexamination of their philosophies would certainly be a

moral purpose in Clough's view as this poem illustrates. The questioning

spirit at the end of the poem justifies his action in bringing the others

and himself to reconsider their beliefs. The questioning spirit ad-

mits that he does not have the answers to the questions he has been

asking, but his purpose in "Imbreeding doubt and sceptic melancholy"


is not that they remain in their condition of doubt. The questioning

spirit intends that his questioning continue "Till that, their dreams

deserting, they with me/ Come all to this true ignorance and thee."29

When we examine the context we can see that this means that the human

spirits are to abandon their present blind faith in whatever philosophy

they may hold, "their dreams deserting," and that they will come to

know that even though they do not have a completely rational reason

for the adoption of their new philosophy of "duty" yet they will be

able to be hopeful in spite of their ignorance because they are fol-

lowing the best philosophy, that of duty. Therefore they "Come all

to this true ignorance," an ignorance that will permit hope, in con-

trast to their previous state of "sceptic melancholy." It is important

to realize that there is no necessary positive advance in knowledge

promised. The human spirits are ignorant of the ultimate value of

life if they follow their old philosophies which place primary values

on material acquisition, knowledge, strife, passivity, love or social

conventions, or, on the other hand, even though they choose the philosophy

of duty they still "know not." Clough, however, does assert that

though there is no greater intellectual certainty in following duty,

there certainly is an advance in attitude. They will move from "sceptic

melancholy" to the attitude of hope when they follow the philosophy

of duty.

The examination of "The human spirits saw I on a day" is im-

portant. Even though it is not strictly Dipsychian in its structure,

it points to the nature of the moral purpose that does inform Clough's


poetry and it shows how he was not aiming at a blank scepticism, though

the non-dogmatic nature of the Dipsychian poems, taken by itself, would

seem to suggest that he were. To appreciate how Clough could view the

stimulation of thought as a moral purpose, it should be remembered that

Clough was an intellectual. He was concerned throughout his life with

ideas. The years of undergraduate study at Oxford deepened and advanced

the intellectual habits Clough had acquired at Rugby, and Clough's years

as an Oxford don intimately involved him in the intellectual and re-

ligious ferment of the Oxford Movement. At Oxford Clough could observe

at first hand how the espousal of a system of dogma halted further

thought in the dogmatist.

To an intellectual, the sense of his existence, his sense of

being, is closely bound to his continuing process of thought. To cease

to think is to cease to be, as an intellectual. The materialist has

his sense of being primarily bound up with his sensory responses to the

world around him. The man of feeling identifies himself basically with

his emotional awareness. But the man of thought, the intellectual,

must place a primary value on thought. And since thought is a process,

anything conducive to halting the process of thought, such as the es-

pousal of a final system of dogma or the arbitrary arrest of further

inquiry, must necessarily be looked upon as deadly. On the other hand,

those structures and situations that further thought will certainly be

valued positively. From the intellectual point of view then, Clough

could naturally endorse a questioning attitude because it would function

as the motive force to ensure the continuance of the process of thought

essential to the intellectual's sense of being.


Certainly such a characterization as the above does apply to

Clough. Goldie Levy momentarily loses sight of Clough's intellectualism

when she comments on Shairp's statement that Clough spoke for two hours

in the Oxford debating society, the Decade, neither for nor against the

proposition "that the character of a gentleman was in the present day

made too much of."30 Levy, one of Clough's less perceptive biographers,

observed that Clough must not have been speaking to the point.31 That

was not true. Instead of taking one side or the otner, Clough traced

the history of the conception of "gentleman" and so opened the whole

question to a deeper and more fruitful consideration. It is scarcely

likely that Levy could have been correct because Clough could not have

held the attention of his audience of Oxford fellows through an entire

two-hour speech if he were not speaking to the point. But there is

a further conclusion which may be drawn here. Clough did not take sides

on this question. It was natural for him as an intellectual not to

take a position that would close further inquiry.

F. T. Palgrave, who knew Clough well, speaks about Clough's

characteristic open-mindedness by stating that he "was diffident of

his own conclusions; had no clean-cut decisive system, nay, thought

experience proved the narrowness of such."32 Osborne confirms this

attitude of Clough's when he is discussing Clough's own personal re-

action to the Oxford Movement. Within Clough the conflict raised was

not whether he would align himself with the Newmanites or the anti-

Newman group; instead, Clough's fundamental conflict was "the conflict

between common sense and open-mindedness on the one hand and, on the

other, adherence to any set of principles that had been set up and were


kept up by deliberate action of the will,"33 Clough was the type of

intellectual who insisted upon keeping his options open so that the

process of thought would be continued.

From this point of view it becomes clearer that those who con-

sider Clough a poet of "doubt" are not really examining the situation

with the thoroughness that is required. Certainly Clough does call

propositions into question, and perhaps could, in the strict sense of

the word, then be classed as a "doubter." But Clough is not a doubter

in the sense that he has had his belief destroyed. Nor does he wish

to destroy the faith of others. He is not a doubter in the sense that

Voltaire could be called a doubter. Neither is Clough a doubter in

the sense that he brings up questions about one side of an issue only,

such as frequently occurs with religious doubters who only question

the orthodox view but do not question their own "anti-orthodoxy."

Clough wished to question both, and he did. Clough's typical "per-

haps" and "perhaps not" can best be seen as neither irresolution nor

as the usual religious doubt, but as a pattern of mind that can best

be described as open-mindedness. When such a habit of mind comes to

express itself, one of its possible modes of expression could naturally

be Dipsychian ambivalence. In such a form, open-mindedness would be

employed to examine and evaluate both sides of an issue. The effect

upon the reader would then be one that would be highly valued by the

intellectual Cloughi the reader will be induced to think and thus the

reader's sense of being as an intellectual would be promoted.

There is definite evidence that Clough did structure his writing

according to the effect that it would have upon a particular audience,


and, further, that the intended effect was often to bring an audience

which supported one side of an issue to reconsider its own side and

to see somewhat of the other side. Probably one of the more striking

examples of Clough's practice in this regard is discovered in Clough's

prose piece, "Address on Socialism." This was written probably about

1851.34 It was directed to a group of socialist workmen who had formed

one of the numerous workmen's cooperative associations that were

springing up in England during the late 1840's and early 1850's.

A group of Oxford and Rugby men and their friends formed the

nucleus of a group who interested themselves in various activities on

behalf of the working class. The group was begun by Charles Kingsley,

F. Maurice, the principal of Queen's College, and J. M. Ludlow, a

young barrister who had been practicing at Lincoln's Inn. Ludlow was

the "prophet" of the group because as a boy he "had seen one revolution

in Paris, and as a student he had drunk deep of the Fourierian spring."35

Fourier, it will be recalled, was the thinker behind such cooperatives

as the memorable one that flourished at Brook Farm outside of Boston

during the 1840's.36 The cooperative idea had held such appeal for

Nathaniel Hawthorne at Brook Farm that he, who had never worked with

his hands, found himself cleaning stables, hoeing, and working as he

had never before done. These same ideas appealed to Clough when, after

Maurice had brought Thomas Hughes into the group, Clough then became

associated through Hughes. Though Clough had met another member of

the group, Charles Kingsley through Froude at Oxford, Kingsley rather

puzzled Clough more than attracted him.37 Thus it was Tom Hughes, a

fellow Rugbian with Clough, who involved Clough in this particular


group. The group published a periodical, Politics for the People, and

themselves taught in a night school for the poor of Great Ormond's Yard.

By April, 1850, they also had been instrumental in the formation of

the first of several cooperative workshops designated as the Working

Tailors' Association.

Clough's connection with this group was haphazard and informal.

He did not have the disposition of the active reformer though he agreed

with the Socialistic aspirationa and sympathized with the Socialistic

groups in the Paris revolution while he was there in the summer of

1848.38 Clough was listed among the nearly twenty that formed the

group in its early stages. However, there is little in Clough's cor-

respondence of this period to indicate a great deal of active partici-

pation. Nevertheless, he was somewhat involved and he was certainly

personally sympathetic. In a way that was typical of his temperament,

he did not identify himself totally with the Socialist position, but

thought through his own position and then kept that position open for

reexamination. Yet when, as a speaker, he came before an assembly of

the Working Tailors' Association they naturally expected him to support

their aspirations and goals.

Clough opened his remarks to the Working Tailors' Association

in the way they anticipated, showing that he was in sympathy with them.

"Gentlemenl I am a fixed customer of two of your cooperative establish-

ments.... May they prosperl"39 However, he promptly presented his

purpose in this address concerning their doctrines, "that as regards

them there seems to be something to be said on the other side.--Which

ought to be said."40 Then Clough began to present what he believed


these Socialistic partisans should hear of views in opposition to their

own. He did this hoping for the same effects that he strove for in the

Dipsychian poetry--that they would reconsider and deepen their under-

standing of the total situation. His sympathy with their cause was

genuitei. but his searching mind saw objections that he felt they should

be aware of, and so he structured his speech in such a way as to ex-

pand his audience's awareness of the issues. Since they, in their own

beliefs, represented one side of the issue, Clough had determined to

present the other side to them. In this way a dialogue of the two

sides could be formed.

Clough's basic objections were to the utopian elements in their

doctrines. He objected to their hopes of an idealized Christian brother-

hood through their workingmen's associations. And certainly the later

developments of these groups bore him out. Clough also presented to

the tailors assembled before him his objections to their utopian social

goals. He criticized their hopes of eliminating poverty and drunkenness.

"Soberly, because you are good, will there be no more bad men? Because

tailors divide profits equally, will there be no more fools and brutes?

Because shoemakers have a common purpose, will spiritous liquors cease

to tempt...?"41

If Clough's political views were not known from other sources

than this speech, his politics would be certainly thought to be rather

conservative, if not in fact reactionary, considering that he is pre-

senting such a conservative speech to an audience of socialists. But

Clough, while in Paris, had seen the French socialists fail to gain

significant strength during the revolution of 1848 and Clough's ex-


periences in Paris led him to conclude that the utopian aspirations

behind radical reform were practically certain to be disappointed in

England too at this time. He wished to bring the tailors in his audi-

ence to a more comprehensive view of their situation through his con-

tradiction of their own utopian dreams,

Interestingly enough, however, in order to enlarge his audience's

grasp of the situation, Clough even went so far as to deny some of the

beliefs that he currently held, as, for example, later in the speech

he presented a cogent argument in support of competition. "And suppose

in this race of competition a man beats met -how has it happened?

By his own superiority, by luck, or by trickery. In the first case,

Eternal Justice is pleased, and so ought I to be; in the second case,

I must hope for a better chance next time, in the third-I must take

care and keep a better look out.42 One does not need to look very

far into Clough's life or his poetry to find many items of proof to

show that such a view of competition is in direct contradiction to his

own views. His poem "In the Great Metropolis" presented in brief

Clough's own antagonism to the whole idea of competition. Its bitter

tone and the sharpness of its satire demonstrate Clough's opposition

to competition with a forceful cynicism that is unusual for him.

Clough's satire is usually more dialectic, more sceptical and open-

minded than in this poem, and by its unusual force the depth of Clough's

own feelings against competition can be judged. One cannot probably

sense the bitterness by an examination of merely one or two quotes,

but Clough's sharpness will at least begin to show itself in the second

stanzai "And when the schoolboys grow to men,/ In life they learn it


o'er again--/ The devil take the hindmost, o"43 The bitterness is

underlined by the rollicking coarseness of the refrain which, by its

constant repetition after every two lines, comes to represent a sort

of summary of the rough spirit that Clough sees in the supporters of

the principle of competition. In the following stanzas Clough points

to the shocking presence of competition not only in the schools but

in the church, in marriage, and throughout the whole length of a man's

life to his death. "And after death, we do not know,/ But scarce can

doubt, where'er we go,/ The devil takes the hindmost, ol"44 And thus

with a view of afterlife that assumes competition will continue, Clough

reaches the end and the climax of this short poem.

"In the Great Metropolis" is not unique in its antagonism to

the idea of competition; rather, it is typical. The same antagonism

to competition occurs often in other poems; for example, it is apparent

at the end of one of the few poems by Clough that is anthologized with

any regularity, "The Latest Decalogue." In that poem, which is an in-

terpretation of the Decalogue according to the worldly point of view,

the last commandment is treated thusa "Thou shalt not covet; but

tradition/ Approves all forms of competition." Here again Clough makes

abundantly clear his own attitude toward the coarsening of spirit which

he believes is induced by the practice of competition.

That Clough, in the speech before the Working Tailors' Associ-

ation, would publicly present a positive view of competition when he

did not personally endorse competition is surprising perhaps, but it

becomes less so when one recalls that it was Clough's avowed purpose

in that speech to show his audience there was justification for the


laissez-faire capitalists' view of economics which was in sharp con-

trast to the economic view of Clough's present socialistic audience.

Clough was not pretending to an expression of his own opinions. He

was adapting his message to his audience--presenting a message that

was calculated to enlarge their view of a situation which was of great

importance to them. Certainly the Working Tailors' Association needed

to understand the cogent logic of a view of competition that was held

by their social and political opposition. This incident serves to

illustrate not only that Clough did adapt his message to the needs of

his audience, but it also demonstrates the Dipsychian manner of thought.

A major characteristic of the Dipsychian mode is the presence of two

opposing views of an issue held in an equal balance. If we consider

that the audience of tailors represented one view and that Clough's

speech offered the opposite view, then within the total situation the

Dipsychian balance is present. For the reader of Clough's Dipsychian

poetry, however, this incident's most important message warns that he

should not accept that poetry strictly at face value. Because Dipsy-

chian poetry presents both sides in rather equal balance and remembering

that Clough can, upon occasion, offer views that he does not personally

endorse, the reader is warned not to pre-emptively assume that Clough

is speaking his true mind in either side he may present. To discern

his true views, one must study his non-Dipsychian poetry and also take

into consideration his letters and the other information we have about

his life in order to form a true estimate of his actual beliefs. If

that tactic had not been followed in the present case, one would have

been forced, judging from the text alone, to believe that Clough's


speech to the Working Tailors' Association proved him to be a sup-

porter of laissez-faire capitalism, an assumption which would be patently

in error in light of his support of the Working Tailors' Association and

his various poetic expressions objecting to laissez-faire capitalism.

Furthermore, when the total effect of Dipsychian poetry is considered

in view of the fact that Clough is interested in widening his audience's

perception of the issue at hand, then one is prepared to recognize that

Dipsychian poetry is an attempt at comprehensiveness rather than some

weakness of will. Clough wished to bring his audience beyond accepted

schools of thought and closed systems of dogma. The goal he aimed to

attain through his presentation of both sides of an issue was that his

readers might be cognizant of the full complexity of the issue, just

as Clough's own logic and his honesty to his perceptions brought him

to see it. His diffidence toward his own conclusions, which Palgrave

pointed out in an earlier quote, rests on this impulse in Clough to

bring before his readers the entire question in all of its complexity.

That Clough chose a dipolar structure to do this in his Dipsychian

poetry rather than some other structure that would provide for a dis-

cussion of each of the shades of opinion between the extremes can also

be accounted for in terms of his proposed effect upon his audience. He

not only wished them to see the complexity of the issues but he also

wished that they might, by their own thoughtful reasoning, arrive at

a position uniquely their own. The reader would be less apt to choose

a position at one of the extremes when he could see the two extremes

set in opposition. In Dipsychus, for example, when he sees the coarse

worldliness of the Spirit, together with the naive idealism of Dipsychus,


both extremes become equally repellent. Unlikely to choose either

extreme, the reader will be forced, through analyzation of both sides

of an issue, to take some of his ideas from both sides and so arrive

at an opinion that is personally satisfactory. The proposed effect

of Dipsychian poetry, therefore, is not only to induce thought and

provide a comprehensive view of the issue, but also to free the reader

to form his own personal position on the issue in question. From this

point of view, Clough's intended effect, then, was to enable change

and growth in his readers. Timko recognized this effect which Clough

proposed in at least one area of thought when he says, "Clough's wish

...was for man to accept things as they really are rather than avoid

coming to grips with the world by resorting to conventional behavior,

to 'mawkish sentimentality,' or animal actions."45 One must look to

Clough's intended effect upon his readers, but to achieve the most com-

prehensive understanding of his Dipsychian poetry it is necessary also

to consider the part that self-expression plays in the genesis of that


One aspect of Clough's self-expression in his poetry should be

examined first because it can indicate one of Clough's primary reasons

for the creation of his poetry, beyond its proposed salutary effects

upon the readers. Rare indeed is the writer who writes only to pro-

mote the welfare of his readers. Some may write to achieve fame, but

these are usually least successful in their aim. Others may write as

a means of livelihood but Clough published so little that this could

not have been his aim. In fact, the.only poetry he wrote for which

he was ever paid was his Amours de Voyage and even this was not pub-


lished until many years after it was written. Though Clough wrote

neither for fame nor wealth, he did have an intimately personal reason

for his poetic creation--the use of poetry as a means of examining his

own philosophical and religious problems.

There is a good deal of evidence to indicate that Clough wrote

his poems as a method of thinking about these problems. In an exami-

nation of Clough's periods of poetic productivity it can be observed

that there were conspicuous periods of productivity but also equally

observable lapses in poetic production. The periods of poetic creation

usually were periods of personal stress for Clough. It was during such

times that Clough employed poetry as a means of working toward a re-

solution of the problems besetting him. The first period of production

was from 1839 to 1841 when Clough faced the "shock of seeing the re-

ligion of Arnold challenged by both Catholicism and Theism."4 The

second period was from 1849 to 1851 when Clough had witnessed the de-

feat of political liberalism in Paris and in Italy and at the same

time had found that University College in London offered no haven

from religious intolerance. 7

During one other period Clough's poetic creativity is linked

directly to personal stress. The later part of the Rugby period,

particularly after the fall of 1835, was a period during which Clough

was engaged in a restricting of his intellectual abundance. Clough

then had "the sense that the too fast and brilliant working of one's

mind was somehow wrong and alien to some deeper quiet of the heart."48

He began to use poetry as a way of resolving this problem by objecti-

fying it in poetry. Such an activity, however, only forced him into


a greater mental activity. For this reason he could not "bring himself

to believe enough in the value of his own poetry.19 Instead of the

calming effect he had sought, he was the more stimulated and he turned

away from the meditative, spiritual mode of thinking that he had been

hoping to promote. In his "Journal" one Sunday morning in September,

1835, he wrote, "Instead of turning to God last night I wrote a sonnet,

and poetized till 10 o'clock. Composed 2 more in bed.,50 The sixteen-

year-old Clough felt that such an activity amounted to turning to poetry

instead of turning to God.

When Clough was caught up in the poetic mood, however, he some-

times felt that poetry offered him more than other modes of thought.

Chorley asserts, "A number of these schoolboy poems were published in

the Rugby Magazine of which he became editor during his last year."51

One of Clough's poems, which he published in the Rugby Magazine in

April, 1836, illustrates Clough's mood of poetic rapture very well.

"Yet let our earthly souls in that bright wake /fhe wake of poesy7/

Still, still with fond and springing rapture ride;/ This burning thirst,

those high desires still slake/ And joy as in these hues."52 These

lines from the poem which young Clough called "The Exordium of a Very

Long Poem" show how deeply poetry excited the very depths of his being.

That as a schoolboy Clough struggled against that sort of poetic rap-

ture accounts in part for the intellectual character of most of his

later verse. The main point to be observed, however, is that almost

in spite of himself at such an early age, Clough naturally turned to

poetry during a period of stress, and,despite his conscious reasonings

to the contrary, Clough did find a large measure of comfort and relief

in poetic activity.


Yet poetic activity was not of equal intensity during each of

the three major periods of Clough's poetic activity prior to 1852. The

Rugby period produced the least amount of poetry, probably for two rea-

sons. First, Clough was just beginning to learn his craft as a poet.

The second reason, and the more important one, is that Clough probably

never again worked as arduously on other projects as he did during his

years at Rugby. Many years later Clough wrote to his fiancee, Miss

Blanche Smith, about the long hours he spent on his studies at Rugbyi

"When I was a boy, between 14 and 22 throughout, I may say, you don't

know how much of this regular drudgery I went through.... Certainly

as a boy, I had less of boyish enjoyment of any kind whatever either

at home or at school than nine-tenths of boys."53 Such concentrated

efforts on his studies, coupled with his other duties at Rugby--the

responsibilities of being a praeposter, the long hours he had to put

in as sole editor of the Rugby Magazine--left Clough little time for

extensive poetic production no matter how much he felt drawn towards

poetry by its capacity to help him relieve some of his inner stresses

during this period.

The poetic production for the period from 1839 to 1847 cannot

be called slight for it was during those years that the sixty-four

pages of Ambarvalia were written, together with about eight more poems

that were later published separately. But when this period is compared

with the period of Clough's greatest poetic activity, the contrast

makes the periods of earlier poetic creation seem very slight indeed.

In the four-year period from 1848 to 1852 Clough wrote the greatest

volume of his work. Perhaps the best way to compare the production


of the two periods is to compare the number of pages the production

from each period requires in the 1951 definitive edition of Clough's

Poems. The poems from the period 1839 to 1847 cover about fifty pages

in that edition, while the poems from the shorter period (1848-1852)

fill three hundred and five pages. Clough wrote approximately six

times as much poetry during half the length of time in the period from

1848 to 1852. In this later period Clough wrote not only lyrics but

also all but one of his narrative poems. The Bothie of Tober-na-

Vuolich, The Amours de Voyage, and Dipsychus, as well as the unfinished

Adam and Eve, were all long narrative or dramatic poems written during

this short span of four years. If Clough had continued writing at

that rate of production he would have filled several volumes of poetry

before his early death at forty-two years of age.

What accounts for this period of intensive poetic creation

during the years between 1848 and 1852? The answer must be the same

as that which accounts for the creativity of the other earlier periods.

This period, like the earlier ones, was a time of personal stress, but

this time, however, was a period of much greater stress than the earlier

ones. Mrs. Clough describes the period thusi "This was without doubt

the dreariest, loneliest period of his life, and he became compressed

and reserved to a degree quite unusual with him, both before and after-

wards."54 His period of greatest personal stress is by far the period

of Clough's greatest poetic activity. No doubt there were other in-

fluences which also made this production possible, as for example,

the increased leisure of this period compared to that of his Rugby

period. But he probably had less leisure during his most creative


period than he did during the early years at Oxford, and thus the

major factor seems to be the greater degree of personal stress which

Mrs. Clough indicates was! characteristic of these years.

A further observation must be made about the poetic production

during the years from 1848 to 1852, and that is that most of Clough's

Dipsychian poetry was written during this period. It may be assumed

that the inner stress which characterizes this period finds its

natural expression in the Dipsychian form. The tension between felt

opposites which constitutes mental stress is precisely the psycho-

logical tension which Dipsychian poetry was formed to express. Clough

had created this particular pattern of poetry out of his own experi-

ence during this "dreariest, loneliest period of his life."

Besides the coincidence of Clough's periods of poetic activity

with his periods of internal stress, there are other indicators that

Clough was at least partly motivated toward using his poetry to aid

himself in objectifying and eventually in resolving the tensions that

wracked him. One such indicator is that Clough's poems, to a striking

degree, reflect his personal experience and his own personality. Such

a personally oriented subject matter and style suggest that Clough may

well have used his poems to deal with the problems, both philosophical

and personal, that tried him. It is a commonplace of criticism to

observe that a writer's creation reflects his own experience. This

is, of course, true of Clough and can be seen even on a superficial

level by recognizing that the settings of each of Clough's major poems

were drawn from his immediate experience.

For several years, while in Oxford, Clough had journeyed to


Scotland a number of times to participate in reading parties. He had

participated both as a student and as a tutor. Towards the end of

August, 1848, two months before he was to formally resign his Fellow-

ship at Oriel, Clough visited Fisher, a former pupil who was then

acting as tutor to his first reading party in Scotland.55 At this

time only the formality of the announcement of Clough's resignation

remained. His connections with Oxford were virtually severed. No

doubt this brief visit with Fisher's reading party in Scotland reminded

Clough of his own happy experiences on similar trips when, during the

long summer vacation, he had led a group of students in their studies

and on rambles through the Scottish country side. From his nostalgia

for the reading parties and out of his sense of freedom from the re-

strictions his Fellowship had imposed, Clough wrote the long vacation

pastoral, The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich. While the poem was occa-

sioned by his separation from Oxford, it was certainly built upon his

own experiences in just such reading parties as the poem describes.

The settings for Clough's other long poems are just as closely tied

to his own experiences. The Amours de Voyage is set in Rome during

the seige by the French in 1849. Clough was in Rome at that time.

Dipsychus is set in Venice, and Clough wrote his first draft of it

while he himself was there in 1850.

The relationship, however, between Clough's experiences and

his poetry is even more intimate than to function merely as a source

for settings and some of the actions in his poems. As will become

apparent, the personal philosophical problems that he was facing are

also reflected in the poems. It is this kind of preoccupation with


philosophical problems that led Matthew Arnold to write to Clough

about Clough's poem, "Duty-that's to say, complying." Arnold wrote,

"I was all rasped by influenza... Upon this came all the exacerbation

produced by your apostrophes to duty." Then Arnold speaks in general

about the philosophical, psychological character of Clough's poetryi

"I did not at all do justice to the great precision and force you

have attained in those inward ways... Yet to solve the universe as

you do is as irritating as Tennyson's dawdling with its painted shell

is fatiguing to me to witness."56 Arnold could see that Clough had

achieved a considerable skill in working with his "inward ways" in

his poetry. Whether or not one is willing to grant Clough a measure

of success in his treatment of man's inner mind, it is clear enough

that man's "inward ways" formed the major theme of Clough's poetry and,

further, that the one major source for this must be his own inner ex-

perience. "Clough wrings his criticism of life out of his own ex-


There certainly is a close relationship between Clough's per-

sonal situation, both in exterior matters such as Clough's travels and

the settings for his poems, and in inner matters such as Matthew Arnold

pointed to in his praise of Clough's "great precision and force" in

his poetic treatment of his "inward ways." This closeness to Clough's

own experience in the materials of his poetry can be witnessed in

another way. Clough's biographers seem to show an unusual penchant

for identifying Clough with the major characters of his poems, which

illustrates that people who have studied Clough's life notice a re-

markable identity between Clough and his poetic creations. Perhaps


nowhere is this tendency shown more clearly than when Goldie Levy

links Clough both with Dipsychus and with Claude within the confines

of a single sentence. "Dipsychus, the man of two souls, is an intro-

spective, intellectual, reserved and sensitive type, reminiscent of

Claude in The Amours de Voyage and of Clough himself."58 This same

tendency to identify Clough with the characters he created is criti-

cized by Houghton in his review of Chorley's biography of Clough.59

An uncritical use of the poems for the purpose of biography has the

same tendency to lead the biographer into error as does the uncritical

use of any source but it certainly was not wrong for the biographers

of Clough to use his poetry as a source of information about him, as

indeed they did. The difficulty arises when the biographer has found

so many insights into Clough's life through a study of his work that

he may be tempted to use the poetry in an uncritical fashion. Levy

is correct. There are many similarities between Claude, Dipsychus

and Clough--more similarities than she listed in the quote given above.

The observation and the use of these similarities can lead the student

of literature into a greater understanding of Clough's work just as

the use of such similarities can lead Clough's biographers into a

fuller understanding of his life. This is true because Clough, more

than many poets, drew directly upon his own personal experience and

reflected that experience in his poetry, both directly and indirectly.

Clough's indirect revelation of himself must, of necessity,

have a special importance to the study of his Dipsychian poetry. When

Clough reveals himself indirectly, it is often through his style, and

style is an important constituent of the Dipsychian poetry because


that poetry is specially marked by various stylistic devices which

heighten its particular effects. Clough himself often commented on

the relationship between the style and the personality of the poet.

In his discussion of the problems of translation he points up this

particular relationship between the poet and his style when he says

of translating Goethe's lyrics, "We have the portraiture of a particu-

lar human mind to re-portray, and the fine personal details of a human

experience to re-express. Some delicate autobiographical confidence

is perverted by every seemingly slight alteration."60 Clough could

observe that "the style is the man" in his translation of Goethe's

lyrics because he knew it to be so true of himseif. He had felt this

when he worked on his own poetry. Others, who knew Clough well, could

also see Clough's mind mirrored in his style. Palgrave knew Clough

when he was a Fellow at Oriel and later held a position similar to

Clough's as an Examiner in the Education Office while Clough was also

an Examiner there. This old friend noted the presence of Clough's

personality in the stylistic devices of his poetry. He says, "And

Clough is there, lastly, to turn to characteristics more distinctively

mental, in a certain caprice or over-fantasy of taste, in a subtle and

far-fetched mode of reasoning which returns to plain conclusions through

almost paradoxical premises."61 Palgrave, who had known Clough's

Dipsychian mind in friendly conversation, could see the same thing in

the style of his poetry. He refers to it when he mentions Clough's

subtle reasoning and his use of "almost paradoxical premises." It was

both natural and unavoidable that Clough's style should bear the strong

impress of his personality, particularly in his Dipsychian poetry.


Clough faced the problems he dealt with in his Dipsychian

poetry with his characteristic rationality, but since these problems

had a personal dimension for him, there is an emotional intensity pre-

sent as well. "He is, of course, an intellectual, but he would not

be a poet unless his intellectual findings--in the realms of personal

and social psychology--had engendered strong emotions."62 Fairchild

alludes to the same thing when he observes that "Clough's satires re-

veal more discomfort than they inflict."63 It would be quite wrong

to suppose that Clough was an emotional poet in the way that Shelley

was. With Clough, the emotional force forms a sort of undercurrent

of intensity more often than it breaks out into obvious emotionalism.

Clough's emotional drives provide the direction and the depth of his

intellectual treatment of the issues. When those issues are examined,

however, it is readily apparent that those matters are of great per-

sonal importance to Clough himself. iA glance at one of the issues in

Clough's Dipsychian poetry will make that clear. Since those issues

which are crucial in Dipsychian poetry will later be discussed at

more length, it will only be necessary here to mention one of the

minor problems that Clough treats in his Dipsychian poetry and to show

briefly how it is related to his own personal situation.

One subject that occurs with some regularity in the Dipsychian

poetry is the problem of the interpretation of Scripture. Clough's

early religious training at home had left him with the orthodox idea

that the Scriptural stories should be read as if they were all com-

posed at one time and addressed to people who were in about the same

situation as himself. When Clough grew to understand what Dr. Arnold,


his headmaster at Rugby, was saying about the interpretation of

Scripture, he found that he had to cope with a substantially different

view. Dr. Arnold had become aware of the German criticism through his

reading of Coleridge and by his own independent studies. Out of these

studies and his own thought Dr. Arnold concluded that revelation is

progressive--that the God who is revealed early in Jewish history is

only the revelation of God that He thought they were prepared to under-

stand. In the cruelty which He displays in the slaughter of the

Amalekites which He commands Saul to undertake, Dr. Arnold saw God

revealing Himself in the only way that the people of that time could

comprehend and since, essentially, God was asking Saul for self-denial,

Christians, who have the additional revelation of the New Testament,

should see the lesson of self-denial and not think that God would be

really pleased by wholesale slaughter of an entire nation. What Dr.

Arnold's concept of progressive revelation means in practice is that

the Christian reader of the Bible is instructed to consider the Old

Testament stories as if they were a series of "parables" from which

he is to draw a moral appropriate to himself and the fuller degree of

revelation that he as a Christian possesses.6

While Clough was in Oxford his contact with the Oxford Move-

ment was intimate. Though he rarely had contact with Newman as an

undergraduate, his mathematical tutor was W. D. Ward, who later (1844)

published The Ideal of a Christian Church,which can be characterized

as an expansion of Tracts for the Times, number ninety.65 In 1845

Ward entered the Roman Catholic Church. During Clough's early years

at Oxford, Ward was not only Clough's tutor but his friend as well.


The overall result of Clough's intimate contact with Ward's probing

and searching mind was that Clough found that he had to clarify and

defend his own position. In fact, the final result was that Clough

was not absorbed into the Oxford Movement but,instead, developed his

own views along a more liberal line than Dr. Arnold had taught. Since

this whole process of development of Clough's religious views will be

treated at some length later, here it is only necessary to glance at

a short poem written in the Dipsychian manner wherein Clough presents

part of his later views on the question of inspiration.

Clough's liberal tendencies are apparent in the very title of

the poem, "Epi-Strauss-ium." The central image of the morning sunlight

passing through the stained glass portraits of Matthew, Mark, Luke and

John, and the afternoon sun shining through the clear glass windows

of the same church suggests a development of Dr. Arnold's concept of

progressive revelation. The central image in "Epi-Strauss-ium" suggests

that during the early years of the Christian Church the truth of God,

the sun, could only be perceived through the Gospel storiesi now, in

a time of fuller revelation, man can perceive the sun more directly.

Clough's own reaction to this progress is somewhat ambiguous in the

poem and that is what makes for its Dipsychian character. There is

a wistfulness in his description of the sun "With gorgeous portraits

blent." He sees them as "Lost, is it? lost, to be recovered never?"

The later revelation of the sun is seen as a fuller revelation surely,

but also as a less humanly satisfactory revelation. The richness of

the early revelation is gone and in its place the sun itself is seen

simply for itself while the old revelation in all its richness has


become "invisible and gone." Now, as Clough sees it, the church has

lost its old glory though it has, as a sort of compensation, more direct

light from the sun. "The place of worship the meantime with light/ Is,

if less richly, more sincerely bright."66

From even such a brief examination of a very complex, though

short lyric, it is possible to apprehend that Clough had incorporated

and objectified his various attitudes toward the matter of Scriptural

interpretation. His early Evangelical training was reflected in his

wistful attitude toward the early revelation given to the Church

through the Gospels. The concept of progressive revelation which he

learned from Dr. Arnold and which he had further developed and applied

to the New Testament during his Oxford years, in his reaction against

Ward and the Oxford Movement, is implicit in the movement of the sun

from the stained glass windows to the plainly glassed windows of the

church. The recognition of the aesthetic appeal of the sun shining

through the stained glass "With gorgeous portraits blent" can easily

be taken for Clough's own realization that for many people, the rituals

and devotions of the Church had a great value. He personally observed

the attachment that many persons in the Oxford Movement gave to these

things. Though ritual did not hold appeal for Clough, his experience

with those for whom it did hold a great appeal. becomes an inevitable

part of his Dipsychian examination of both sides of the questions in-

volved in the matter of Scriptural interpretation. Because Clough

created a poem based upon his own conflicting experience, and since

that poem reflected conflicting elements by reflecting that experience,

the Dipsychian form was in a sense inevitable. The balanced statement


on either side of the issue of Scriptural interpretation in "Epi-Strauss-

ium" objectifies Clough's own ambivalent experience with that very pro-


Since Clough was employing poetry, in part at least, as a com-

mentary on his own experience and as a sounding board for his personal

problems, introspection was naturally involved. The poetry grew out

of the introspection, however, and not the introspection out of the

poetic habit. Introspection was a habit with Clough as early as the

days at Rugby. Veyriras observes that it is one of the surprises which

the publication of Clough's correspondence revealed; to discover that

a young man who was widely admired for his high moral character and

his notable emotional balance was so often prone to indulge himself

in a nearly morbid self-analysis.67 The best examples of his intro-

spection are to be found in Clough's letters to Simpkinson. Simpkinson

had been a close friend of Clough's while they were at Rugby together,

and since Simpkinson was older, when Simpkinson went off to Cambridge,

Clough unburdened his heart to him in many letters during his last

years at Rugby. Before Simpkinson had left Rugby, Clough's other

close friends had also departed for college and Clough felt quite alone

when Simpkinson also left; thus it was natural he should turn to his

closest friend, and,through letters, reveal himself to Simpkinson.

Probably the letter that most reveals the occasional morbid touch

that Clough's adolescent introspection could at times take is the

letter of March 3, 1836, when Clough had just turned seventeen. "Ever

since the week I was in bed for it FClough refers to the time he was

ill with the measles7, a kind of sound or tone which haunted me at that


time, and gave a kind of colour to everything I heard, has occasionally

in times of excitement come over me, shrouding me as it were in a mist,

nay, sometimes coming even within me and giving its ghostly spectre-

like tone to thoughts even before they had acquired the definite sound

of words."68 Clough then goes on to tell Simpkinson how this mood has

entered his religious thoughts. "It has sometimes been quite dreadful

to feel one's prayers for aid, whilst they are being breathed to God,

infected with this loathsome disease. Sometimes however I felt quite

triumphant in the consciousness that it could not touch my heart...and

that the evil spirit had no power there."69 As the letter draws to

a close, Clough's introspective mood turns him to a consideration of

his thoughts while he was writing this letter. "All the while I have

been writing this I have been in a constant struggle against evil

thoughts which are like the waves of the tide running in; as soon as

one retires, one rolls over and is almost beyond the other's original

mark."70 This letter illustrates not only Clough's tendency to intro-

spection as an adolescent, but also shows that Clough felt a danger in

introspection for himself personally. But in spite of that, the intro-

spection was continued throughout his life, at least until the time of

his marriage. Such introspection was most intense, however, not during

his Rugby period, butinstead, during the other two more poetically

productive periods--while at Oxford, and especially during his most

creative period, 1848 through 1852. Veyriras has observed the relation-

ship between Clough's periods of introspection and those periods of

special trial and greater creativity.71

Miss Chorley's following statement, concerning the relation-


ship between Clough's introspection and his poetic creativity, is,

perhaps, a bit romantic in its expression but it lays bare the heart

of the matter. She is grateful that Clough's letters preserve some

glimpses of his morbid introspection, "For here, clearly recognizable,

is the seed-bed from which most of Clough's most moving poetry springs;

the poetic imagination fertilized, conjured into action by self-torture."72

It is probably because of the presence of emotional pressures and the

need to objectify them that Clough turned to poetry rather than to

prose. While prose is the most responsive medium for the rendering

of thought, poetry makes it possible to express thoughts together with

their subtle coloring of emotional values and, at the same time, to

trace the complex inner workings of the human mind. Poetry's respon-

siveness to emotional and psychological nuances, together with Clough's

natural talent in his medium, were both, no doubt, factors in the

choice of poetry as the means for him to express the thoughts and

emotions which his introspection led him to observe in himself.

Since Clough is so self-aware, it is not surprising to find that

he recognizes the potential that writing poetry has for the relief and

self-expression of those suffering some mental turmoil. In Dipsychus,

after Dipsychus has recited a section of Clough's "Easter Day," Spirit

questions Dipsychus about it. Spirit's objection to the "Easter Day"

poem seems to rest upon its Dipsychian character. Because of the poem's

ambivalence, Spirit's matter-of-fact mind finds the poem unclear in

both opinion and tone. Spirit expresses his objection thusi "Well,

now it's anything but clear/ What is the tone that's taken herel/

...That's a great fault; you're this and that,/ And here and there,


and nothing flat."73 Spirit goes on to offer Dipsychus some common-

sense suggestions about writing poetry. "Yet writing's golden word

what is it,/ But the three syllables, 'explicit'?/ Say, if you cannot

help it, less,/ But what you do put, put express." Interestingly

enough Spirit here expresses much the same objection to "Easter Day"

that the Uncle in the Epilogue to Dipsychus expresses about Dipsychus

itself. The basis of the problem for such practical minds as those

of Spirit and the Uncle is in the ambivalence that is the primary mark

of both of these poems.

Furthermore, Spirit has suggested that there is a sort of com-

pulsiveness in Dipsychus that made him write "Easter Day" when Spirit

says, "Say, if you cannot help it, less." The suggestion is that

Dipsychus cannot help but say something in verse. He ssens compelled

toward poetic utterance. When Dipsychus answers Spirit's remarks, we

get a glimpse of the nature of that compulsion. Dipsychus explains

why he wrote "Easter Day." "To please my own poor mindl To find repose/

To physic the sick soul; to furnish vent/ To diseased humours in the

moral frame." This is much the same reason which has been suggested

that Clough had for his own writing of poetry. Lest it be observed

that one should not draw a hasty conclusion that what was true of

Dipsychus is necessarily true of Clough, it is necessary to note that

Clough himself suggests in this context that what is true of Dipsychus

is true of Clough. Dipsychus is made to recite, as his own, the poem

which in fact Clough had written--"Easter Day." This poem was written

by Clough the year before while he was in Italy. Dipsychus, however,

claims authorship and Spirit recognizes that claim, so it is certainly


justifiable to accept Clough's own suggestion that he and Dipsychus

were alike in regard to "Easter Day." They both "pretend" to have

written it. Because Clough has, in the writing of "Easter Day," drawn

an identity between himself and Dipsychus, it is probable to assume

that Dipsychus' motive in his pretended creation of the poem is much

the same as Clough's motive in his actual writing of the poem. It

then appears from Spirit's remark, "Say, if you can not help it, less

...," that Clough, like Dipsychus, writes from some compulsive moti-

vation. This is all the more probable when we remember Clough's com-

pulsive "poetizing" while he was in Rugby.

It is worthwhile to use this section of Dipsychus to further

probe into the exact nature of this compulsion. In part, the compul-

sion comes from the need, as Dipsychus says, "To please my own poor

mind Spirit offers some amplification of that statement when he

comments on it, saying, "That in religious as profane things/ 'Twas

useless trying to explain things;/ Men's business-wits the only sane

things." Spirit rightly supposes that Dipsychus was compelled to

write his poem in an attempt to explain to himself some religious

matters that had been troubling him. This, then, suggests the thought-

ful aspect of Clough's own motivation which is reflected in the strongly

intellectual nature of his poetry, particularly of his Dipsychian poetry.

Clough uses poetry to search out the various aspects of his own philo-

sophical and religious problems and exposes them for his own exami-

nation--as he says, "To please my own poor mindi"

There is, however, more than intellectual examination involved.
Dipsychus suggests another aspect of the poet's motivation in writing.


"To find reposel/ To physic the sick soul." Houghton comments on

this when he discusses these lines. He says of self-examination, "For

a poet it could also lead to a therapy of self-confession."74 This

seems to be what Clough is suggesting here too. The process of self-

examination would serve to promote a more healthy attitude toward the

questions because they could be seen in a more objective manner. The

problems would then be seen for exactly what they are, without intro-

ducing the exaggerations that solitary brooding would tend to bring

to them. This, then, could be called therapeutic poetry because of

the healing it may bring to the poet himself. Much of the Dipsychian

poetry is of this nature because when both sides of an issue are laid

bare, with the full force of arguments on each side exposed, the poet

is placed in a position which enables him to make his own choice.

The Dipsychian poem would not record that ultimate choice since that

would occur only after the poem had been written. This is the reason

for the ambivalence in the Dipsychian poems--the issues they examine

are at the time of examination in a state of flux in the poet's mind

and the poem itself is part of the mental process by which the poet

is working toward a resolution. It is thus easy to see that critics,

looking at the Dipsychian poems themselves and not considering other

sources of information about their author, were often erroneously led

to the conclusion that Clough was a poet of doubt. It would be more

accurate to say that Clough was a poet sometimes seized by doubt, and

while he struggled under its power he turned to poetry to express

that struggle. Ultimately the poet himself reached a resolution of

the issue, but the Dipsychian poems are poems of the struggle, not of

the resolution.


A third, and less complex,motivation for Clough's poetic creation

is suggested by Dipsychus' explanation that he wrote "to furnish vent to

diseased humours in the moral frame." This refers to the frequent ex-

perience of every person when in some mental difficulty. It is often

helpful just to express the problem. People in trouble are helped by

such a simple thing as an expression of the problem as they see it,

whether or not any mental clarification of the issues results. Spirit

makes light of Dipsychus' need for simply giving vent to his feelings

when he mocks it as,"A sort of seton, I suppose,/ A moral bleeding at

the nose." Spirit's images are coarse--the seton is the surgical name

for a string that is used to draw pus from a blister or a wound by capil-

lary action. These coarse images merely reflect Spirit's cynical atti-

tude towards the very human need to give expression to problems by the

psychological value of simply giving vent to one's problems. This psy-

chological device was as well recognized in the nineteenth century as

it is today.

It is apparent that the type of poetry which the poet creates

to give vent to his problems will not usually contain any statement

of the resolution of those problems. One only needs to give vent to

a problem while it is a live problem for him, which means that he can

not perceive the solution of that problem at the time. Naturally, then,

no solution would be likely to appear in such a poetic presentation of

the problem. Therefore, it is apparent that the Dipsychian poetry

that Clough wrote wholly or in part from a motive of furnishing "vent

to'diseased humours in the moral frame" would not contain the resolu-

tion of the problem that it treated. It would present the problem as


he saw it while it was a problem to him. Both sides would seem equally

desirable or undesirable. The situation would be in balance. The

natural expression would be the ambivalent poetry that has been called


In this chapter the nature of Dipsychian poetry has been ex-

plained by means of definition and description. The definition of Di-

psychian poetry as it occurs in its objective expression was examined in

Clough's lyric, "Is it true, ye gods, who treat us." The expression of

the ironic mode of Dipsychian poetry was shown especially in Clough's use

of that mode in the poem "Jacob" where its relationship to psychological

patterns was also evident. The description of Dipsychian poetry would not

have been complete, however, without a study of the effects which Clough

intended to achieve. It becomes clear, when one examines Clough's Socratic

practice both as a teacher and as a poet, that he does not intend so much

to break down his readers' convictions as to bring them to an open-minded

reexamination of their own philosophy, Clough was also sufficiently self-

aware to recognize that he used poetry to assist himself with his own prob-

lems. The reader may recognize this when the relationship between the

periods of Clough's personal stress and his periods of great poetic crea-

tivity were seen to coincide, Furthermore, when his personal experiences

were seen to be intimately linked with Clough's poetic expression, not only

in superficial matters but on the deeper level of his current emotional

involvement with the issues of which his poetry treats, then the reader

is prepared to understand the sort of benefits that Clough sought to

obtain from poetic creation as he described them in Dipsychus. With


this type of definition and description in the background, the im-

portance of the forthcoming study of the unique characteristics of

Clough's personality, which caused him to write in a Dipsychian fashion,

will be apparent. It remains to be shown how these special personality

characteristics operated upon particular issues so as to find expres-

sion in Dipsychian poetry.



1Houghton, Poetry of Clough, p. 226.

2Clough, Poems, p. 44.


4Ibid., p. 87.



7Clough, Correspondence, p. 190.

8Houghton, Poetry of Clough, p. 75.

I9bid., p. 116.

10Clough, Poems, p. 85.

12Ibid., p. 86.

13Timko, p. 95.

14Arthur Hugh Clough, Selected Prose Works of Arthur Hugh Clough,
ed. Buckner B. Trawick (University, Alabama, 1964), p. 178.

150sborne, p. 60.

16Charles Eliot Norton, "Arthur Hugh Clough," The Atlantic
Monthly, IX (April 1862), 463'-

17Paul Veyriras, Arthur Hugh Clough, 1819-1861 (Paris, 1964),
P. 191.

18Arthur Hugh Clough, The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh
Cloughi With a Selection from His Letters and a Memoir, ed. Blanche
Smith Clough (London, 1869), I, 34.


19Louise Creighton, Life and Letters of Thomas Hodgkin (London,
1917), p. 20.

20Sir Edward Fry, A Memoir, ed. Agnes Fry (Oxford, 1921), p. 42.

21amuel Waddington, Arthur Hugh Clough, (London, 1883), pp.91-92.

2Goldie Levy, Arthur Hugh Clough (London, 1938), p. 85.

23John D. Davis, A Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.,
1958), p. 698.

24Clough, Poems, p. 457.

2-Matthew Arnold, The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh
Clough, ed. Howard F. Lowry (London, 1932), p. 60,

26Matthew Arnold, Poetry and Criticism of Matthew Arnold, ed. A.
Dwight Culler (Boston, 1961), p. 204..

27Arnold, Letters to Clough, p. 60.

28Clough, Poems, p. 1.

29Ibid., p. 2.

30Chorley, p. 141.

31Levy, p. 51.

32Francis T. Palgrave, "Arthur Hugh Clough," Fraser's Magazine,
IXV (April 1862), 528.

33Osborne, p. 50.

34Clough, Selected Prose, p. 349.

35Edward Clarence Mack and W. H. G. Armytage, Thomas Hughess The
Life of the Author of "Tom Brown's Schooldays" (London, 1952), p. 53.

36An interesting picture of the formation, rise and fall of
Brook Farm can be drawn from a collection of original documents such
as letters, diaries, and contemporary newspaper articles which are
assembled in Autobiography of Brook Farm, ed. Henry W. Sams (Englewood
Cliffs, N, J., 1958).


37Clough, Correspondence, I, 216.

38~bid., I, 204.

39Clough, Selected Prose, p. 243.


41Ibid., p. 245.

42bid., p. 246.

43Clough, Poems, p. 91.


45Timko, p. 102.

46Houghton, Poetry of Clough, p. 208.


48Arnold, Letters to Clough, p. 8.

49Chorley, p. 25.

50Arnold, Letters to Clough, p. 8.

51Chorley, p. 25.

52Clough, Poems, p. 439.

53Clough, Correspondence, I, 310.

54Clough, Poems and Prose Remains, p. 39.

55Levy, p. 78.

56Arnold, Letters to Clough, p. 63.

57Chorley, p. 7.

58Levy, p. 202.


59Houghton, "Review," Victorian Studies, VI (September 1962), 91.

60Clough, Selected Prose, pp. 188-189.

61Palgrave3 p. 530.

62Chorley, p. 6.

63Hoxie Neale Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry
(New York, 1957), IV, 524.

64Basil Willey, Nineteenth Century Studiesl Coleridge to Matthew
Arnold (New York, 1966), pp. 64-66.

65Ibid., p. 98.

66Clough, Poems, p. 49.

67Veyriras, p. 66.

6Clough, Correspondence, I, 40.



71Veyriras, p. 67.

72Chorley, pp. 31-32.

73The locus for this and the following quotes in this section
from Dipsychus is Poems, pp. 263-266.

74Houghton, Poetry of Clough, p. 58.


Dipsychian poetry has been characterized as the poetry of

decision. It has become abundantly clear that Clough wrote this kind

of poetry to arrive at decisions of his own and also to bring his

readers to form their own decisions. Dipsychian poetry, however, can

also be characterized as the poetry of crisis. The crisis that typi-

cally generated Clough's Dipsychian poetry was not simply an external

crisis that is easy for the biographer to isolate and document by dates

and specific events. The crisis in Clough's life that generated the

Dipsychian poetry was not an external calamity but an internal crisis

--a crisis of values. To understand this crisis of values it is neces-

sary to examine Clough's unique mode of thinking and, therefore, the

emphasis in this chapter falls upon the Dipsychian mind and the in-

fluences which formed it,

Clough's Dipsychian mind was more than a mind poised before

decision, though it certainly was that. It will be seen in this chapter

that the decision which Clough faced was of a special nature, and where-

as the last chapter focused upon the poetry and the fact of decision

present in that poetry, this chapter examines the elements of the

central problem that called forth the Dipsychian mind. If Clough had

been indiscriminately ambivalent on a large number of issues, one

would be forced to admit that he was probably of an irresolute char-

acter. It is clear that Clough was far from being an irresolute in-

dividual, but in one area of thought, at one period of his life, he



faced a crisis of values that was insolubl. for him at that time.

It will be seen later in this chapter that the problem which he faced

was essentially a question of whether moral obedience to God and ser-

vice to others in this world could be rightfully reconciled. One side

of the conflict was Clough's wish to remain morally pure and to escape

the taint of impurity that he saw others receive through their contact

with the world of men and affairs, Clough's idea that the world tends

to corrupt those who mix with it could have been observed in a number

of the poems that were previously examined. A prime example of that

attitude is found in Clough's poem, "In the Great Metropolis." There,

it will be recalled, he bitterly observed that the world in all of

its contacts with man--from the time of being a schoolboy, through-

out his business activities, until his old age and death-teaches the

lesson of selfishness through the doctrine of competition, or as the

refrain of the poem puts it, "The devil take the hindmost." In much

the same way that the world teaches selfishness, Clough saw it bring

other types of moral failure upon individuals, sometimes by temptation,

sometimes by influences. The more intimate a person was in his in-

volvement in worldly affairs, the more probable was his moral break-

down in one area or another. So it seemed to Clough that the only

course open to one who wished to remain pure was to avoid contact with

the world,

As Clough saw it, however, contact with the world was imposed

upon man by God, that thought is the burden of Clough's poem, "Qui

Laborat, Orat." Not only were men forced by their nature and circum-

stances to live in the world, they were seemingly prohibited from


bidding their time on the outskirts of the world of affairs. They

could not properly withdraw from the furor of active life into the

religious security of the monastery or the placid intellectual life

of the university. Clough expresses this idea in The Bothie of Tober-

na-Vuolicht "There is a Field-Marshal, my friend, who arrays our bat-

talionsl/ Let us to Providence trust, and abide and work in our stations."

Withdrawal was prohibited, Clough thought, by God's injunction that men

should serve others. To Clough, service to others necessitated active

involvement in the affairs of the world and men. As will be seen,

Clough's sense of the significance of commonplace reality made it im-

possible for him to compromise his sense of the duty of service by any

sort of withdrawal from active life--to serve others had to mean to

serve them here and now and in the practical, common-sense ways.

Clough's crisis of values was shaped by the inevitable con-

flict between this desire to maintain before God the greatest moral

purity of which he was capable and, on the other hand, the God-imposed

necessity of serving others in this world which would necessitate being

tainted by the impurity of the world.2 Clough sincerely wished to

serve God. Had he been less genuinely sincere, a compromise on either

the side of service or on the side of moral purity could have been

easily effected. But Clough, by training and disposition, was, he

felt, in an insolubl&d moral dilemma--a crisis of values.

In this chapter the aspects of his mind which formed that crisis

will be seen to consist of three primary attitudes. The first is

Clough's sense of the paramount importance of commonplace reality.
Without that sense he would have been able to retreat to the university


life and so have avoided the tincture of immorality which he felt the

world of business and practical affairs brought. The second attitude

in Clough's crisis of values was his feeling of the necessity for moral

purity and his idea that the world tends to corrupt the purity of those

who come into contact with it. Had he not held that attitude, Clough

would have been free to enter into the very heart of the business and

commercial world and satisfy his duty to God by realistic service to

others within the context of commonplace reality. The third element

in Clough's crisis of values during the Dipsychian period was his

sense of the duty to serve others. Without this element he could have

maintained his purity of heart because he would not have felt a duty

to mingle in the affairs of the world at all.

Following the above pattern of analysis of the Dipsychian

mind, this chapter will illustrate in some detail how each of these

three elements were present for Clough--his realistic view of life,

his necessity for moral purity, and his duty to the service of mankind.

Clough's appreciation of the significance of activity within

reality was grounded within his personality. Clough, both as a boy

and as an adult, enjoyed active involvement with life. He was not a

fragile weakling as Lytton Strachey suggested by his unqualified re-

ference to Clough's weak ankles.3 As a very young boy Clough's ankles

were weak but that did not stop him even then from engaging in athletic

activities. He became a powerful swimmer and greatly enjoyed swimming

throughout his life.4 After he had entered the upper forms at Rugby

his ankles had strengthened so much that he enthusiastically engaged

in the rough: and tumble of the special kind of football that was named


for Rugby School. That the game of Rugby was much rougher than the

modern American game of football can be ascertained by a study of

Thomas Hughes' famous account of the game in Tom Brown's School-Days.

Rugby was played without any protective padding by schoolboys of all

ages who were thrown together in a colossal free-for-all of over one

hundred boys.5 This mass of eager, thrashing youths often converged

upon the goalkeeper, and Clough achieved a schoolboy's immortality as

one of Rugby's two best goalkeepers. Clough's young friend, Thomas

Arnold, Matthew's brother, recalls the stalwart figure of Clough

guarding the goal. "He wore neither jersey nor cap; in a white shirt,

and with bare head, he would face the rush of the other side as they

pressed the ball within the line of the goalposts; and not seldom, by

desperatb struggles, he was the first to 'touch it down,' thus baulking

the enemy of his expected 'try at goal'."7 Evidently Clough was not

a weak young man disposed to retire before the challenge of reality.

In college he was remembered in a poem as, "..lithe of limb, and

strong as shepherd's boy."8 This love of the active life continued

during Clough's later years as a Fellow of Oriel. As Osborne says,

"His love of outdoor living was even beyond that of the-usual Oxford


Clough's involvement with sports and physical activity demon-

strates that he was not only physically strong and self-reliant, but

it shows that it was in his character to involve himself actively

with reality and not to lose himself in dreams and retirement. This

realistic attitude is a part of Clough's character that must not be

overlooked. Naturally it showed itself in his poetry in other ways


besides its appearance in the active, realistic desire to engage in

practical service that we find in the Dipsychian poetry. Outside of

the Dipsychian poetry, probably the most striking poetic revelation

of this realistic side of Clough's personality is found in his poem,

The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich. It has earthy and sometimes humorous

descriptions such as that of the corpulent young student, Hobbes,

dancing a highland reel in his short kiltsl "Him see I frisking, and

whisking, and ever at swifter gyration/ Under brief curtain revealing

broad acres--not of broad cloth."l0 Thesettings in this poem are also

presented with a clear eye for the reality they are to convey, such

as the description of the reading parties favorite bathing place in

a stream near their cottage. This long description gives the reader

a sense of actual presence on the scene as Clough describes the trees

that surround the falls and the pool below, "...pellucid, pure, a

mirror;/ Beautiful there for the colour derived from green rocks under;/

Beautiful, most of all, where beads of foam uprising/ Mingle their

clouds of white with the delicate hue of the stillness./ Cliff over

cliff for its sides, with rowan and pendent birch boughs,/ Here it

lies."11 This short quote from Clough's much longer description can

only suggest its realistic vividness but it is typical of the poem as

a whole. It was noted before that Houghton says of this poem, "...

the sense of actual life is so firmly created.l12

Philip Hewson, the hero of The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich,

can be seen as Clough's characterization of this realistic side of

Clough's personality. Hewson was a poet, butlike Clough, he was in

search of a way that would enable him to live a simple life in touch


with everyday reality. Hewson eventually chooses a highland country

lassie for a wife and emligrates to Australia to take up farming.

From the time that Clough was nearly eighteen he expresses in his

poetry the high valuation, similar to Hewson's, that he places upon

such a plain life. For example, in the early poem, "An Incident,"

Clough gives praise "Of hOme and homely duties met,/ And charities

of daily life."l3 This sort of desire finds its symbolic represent-

ation in the recurring symbol of the highland lassie and a picture

of a life with her removed from the artificialities of life and the

intellectualism that Clough sometimes felt impinged upon his life.

One of Clough's mature poems which best expresses this longing for

the plain life is "6 9eos peta cor" in The Ambarvalia. There Clough

writes about the type of plain life he yearns to live--a life closely

in touch with natural reality, "With worldly comforts few and far,

how glad were I to stayl/ I fall to sleep with dreams of life in some

black bothie spent,/ Coarse poortith's ware thou changing there to

gold of pure content,/ With barefoot lads and lassies round, and thee

the cheery wife,/ In the braes of old Lochaber a laborious homely


This longing for a plain life, close to reality, stayed with

Clough to the end of his life. It appears, with its symbol, the high-

land lassie, in the very last poem that Clough wrote, "The Lawyer's

Second Tale," in his Mari Magno. To get a sense of how close to his

heart this longing was, one needs only to consider Mrs. Clough's pic-

ture of the last days before Clough's death when she was with him in

Flbrence. During this time Clough returned to work on "The Lawyer's


Second Tale," which is the story of a man who loved a highland lassie

and had a child by her but through a tragic mischance was separated

from her and could not find her again until it was too late. When

Clough began to recover a little just prior to his final relapse, "he

insisted on trying to write it out," Mrs. Clough recalls of that pain-

ful time, "and when this proved too great an effort he begged to dic-

tate it. But he broke down before it was finished, and returned to

bed never to leave it again. A few days before his death he begged

for a pencil and contrived to write down two verses, and quite to the

end his thoughts kept hold of his poem."15 This aspect of his realistic

view of life never found its full expression outside of his poetry.

Always, to the very end of his life, the simple country life, sym-

bolized by the highland lassie, eluded him.

Within his poetry, however, Clough's realistic attitude found

expression in ways other than dynamic, active heroes, realistic de-

scription and symbolism of the plain rustic life. It was the person-

ality core around which Clough formed certain aspects of his theory of

art. It was Clough's contention that poetry lost much of its power of

appeal for the readers of his time because it tended to deal only with

certain conventionally acceptable subjects. Clough's sense of the im-

portance of the commonplace realities of daily existence led him to

urge the use of such material by the poets of his time. This view,

which was derived from Clough's robust appreciation of all aspects of

life, led him to posit a "social theory of art."16 Healthy art, from

Clough's point of view, "draws upon the whole life of its environment. "17

Armstrong believes that it was this theory that led Clough to deal with


contemporary problems.18 Probably, however, it was Clough's appreci-

ation of the significance of reality that led him to formulate his

"social theory of art" and his realistic attitude also led him to

deal with contemporary problems. Because Clough believed that poetry

grounded in the facts of common life would have a greater appeal to

his audience, his appreciation of the significance of reality led him

to enlarge the areas of acceptable poetic materials to include "these

positive matters of fact, which people...are obliged to have to do

with." 19

Clough's positive attitude toward reality, however, also

affected another part of his theory of art. Since a writer deals with

both an objective and a subjective reality, Clough urged that a writer

was obliged to be true to both. Not only must he represent external

reality with a factual accuracy, but he should also be as scrupulously

accurate in revealing his true self in his representation of subjective

reality. Clough had apparently criticised Matthew Arnold for some

failure to show his true self in his poetry. Though none of Clough's

letters to Arnold have been preserved, we do have many of Arnold's

letters to Clough, and in one place Arnold agrees with what must have

been Clough's criticism of Arnold's literary sincerity. Arnold writes

to Clough, "It is very true I am not myself in writing--but it is of

no use reproaching me with it, since so it must be."20

For Clough the requirement for sincere and honest self-repre-

sentation in his poetry presented both a problem and a challenge. The

necessity for a writer to act in accord with his own internal reality

in his chosen profession presents a perilous moral temptation. It is


so easy to use words to misrepresent facts, Clough believed, that even

vocal prayers to God could be of questionable value. In a discussion

with young Thomas Arnold one evening, Clough offered the opinion "That

in view of the dangers of unreality and self-delusion with which vocal'

prayers were beset, it was questionable how far their use was of ad-

vantage to the soul."21 In the use of words, the danger which Clough

sensed for himself as a writer was that he would become like other

writers he had known who had become "so incapable of writing, or even

speaking, except"'in character'...without giving you a chance of seeing

what they really are off the stage... There that is one of the mis-

chiefs and miseries of authorship which deters me."22 This was not

really some hypermoralistic pretense on Clough's part. He was always

genuinely concerned that he should never deceive himself or others.

Furthermore, as we have seen that Clough employed his writing to work

out some of his own problems, it would obviously make such a process

of personal problem-solving impossible if he began to "take a part"

or in any way deny his inner reality when he engaged in writing. For

his writing to continue as a psychological therapy, he had to main-

tain a strict sincerity in spite of the very real temptations in a

contrary direction. This is what Clough referred to when he wrote to

his fiancee, Miss Blanche Smith, toward the close of his Dipsychian

period about a possible career as a writeri "I do soberly think it

replete with temptations and probable mischief for me."23

There was an allied danger that Clough may well have felt if

he had lapsed into insincerity in writing. Clough was peculiarly de-

pendent upon his orientation toward reality. It was one of the corner-


stones of his thought that one should never accept any dogmatic p6sition

nor maintain an unexamined philosophy. We have seen this attitude ex-

pressed in the examination of his poem "The human spirits saw I on a

day." It was this philosophical imperative to remain free from a set-

tled creed which forced him to keep in constant and intimate contact

with reality. Since his thought could not be orientated by some given

system of abstractions, some creed or dogma, any particular problem

could be argued endlessly pro and con unless he could resolve the ques-

tion by the appeal to reality. For this reason Clough had to maintain

a strict honesty in regard to the objective reality that he found around

him. He had to be strictly accurate in his observation and reporting

of his subjective reality. He had to remain true to himself because,

in the long run, he had to depend only upon his own personal perception

of truth as he found it within himself. Because he accepted no creed

and would not commit himself to any authoritarian system of thought,

Clough's attitudes and his own apprehension of the truth had to be

the final arbiters in the philosophical and moral problems that he faced.

It would be worse than immoral, it would be insane for him to muddy that

clear water of truth and reality with the dirt of insincerity. This

realization explains his often strong condemnation of all misuse of lan-

guage such as, "...worldly-wise decorum's false proprieties/ ...And com-

pany, and jests, and feeble witticism,/ And talk of talk, and criticism

of criticisms."24 Such lines are wrongly taken if they are understood

in the moralistic, pious sense that a Puritan would have intended if he

had uttered them. Clough was a social man and a quick man with a memor-

able phrase. It was he that coined the phrase "The Broad Church" to


describe the liberal movement in the church at his time which would

accommodate itself to all views. His humor and sprightly conversation

made him acceptable as a friend and companion to men like Emerson,

Carlyle, and Tennyson, Clough does not condemn humor or wit, but he

is fully aware of the dangers of intellectual distortion and trivi-

ality that can arise from any misuse of language, especially the lan-

guage that one uses for his subjective apprehension of reality.

But while Clough saw some dangers for himself in the temptation

to insincerity which he felt every writer must face, he also responded

to the challenge that sincerity forces upon a writer. His honest re-

presentation of his conflicting states of mind would not be half so

moving if the reader did not sense that it represented the report of

a genuine struggle within the author himself, Graham Greene paid this

tribute to Clough's honesty in The Quiet Americant "He was an adult

poet in the nineteenth century. There weren't so many of them."25

Greene's observation is a recognition of the fact that Clough did main-

tain his sincerity, It is one of the qualities that accounts for Clough's

growing appeal to a twentieth century audience of readers. V. S. Pritchett,

in 1953, lists the quality of subjective honesty as important in Clough's

present reputation, "His unofficial manner, his truthfulness about per-

sonal feelings, his nonchalance, his curiosity, even his bitterness and

use of anti-climax are closer to the poets of the thirties than they were

to his contemporaries."26 Clear-eyed recognition of reality was Clough's

lifelong habit. As early as his fourteenth year, in a letter home, he


attempted, in the face of almost certain misunderstanding on the part

of his patriotic parents, to be honest about his view of England, his

native land, and finding himself frustrated by the fact that "truth

is so concealed by the balarney of false patriotism that it is very

hard to discover what are the real merits and demerits of England."27

Through Clough's lifelong concern for sincerity he maintained a clear

perception of his inner reality and that honesty informed his poetry

so that it is moving even today. "Clough thought first of his own

sincerity when he wrote; he permitted himself no expression which would

not render as truthfully as possible an emotion actually felt. He re-

fused to heighten feelings, he loved reality."28 Clough faced and con-

quered the challenge which sincerity to his inner reality presented to

him as a poet.

Honesty to the reality that was within him, as well as honesty

to objective exterior reality, was simply an aspect of Clough's general

attitude that asserted the importance of the ordinary reality of every-

day life. But most important, when this realistic facet of Clough's

mind is brought to bear upon the crisis of values that formed the Di-

psychian poetry, it can be seen that it was quite impossible for him

to retreat from everyday reality in acting on the basis of his sense

of duty to others. He rightly felt that if he must serve others, then

he must serve them in the context of the reality of their daily lives.29

He was propelled by this point of view to enter upon some vocation that

would operate for the good of others within the commonplace activities

of the world. But it was his fear that such an intimate involvement

with the world would lead him away from God's requirement for moral purity.


Even as a child Clough was observed to have inherited from his

mother a certain seriousness. This seriousness was cultivated by his

close contact with his mother during the years before he entered Rugby.

Since his father was very frequently away from home for long periods

because of the demands of his business in the cotton trade, Clough was

influenced a great deal by his mother. She was a woman of stern in-

tegrity. She came from a Calvinistic family and though she loved her

children, one senses in the description of her which Anne Jemima (Clough's

sister) wrote that there was a certain distance between her and her chil-

dren. Not that she did not love them and take a deep concern in their

welfare, but it appears that she was not especially demonstrative of

that love; at least she was not as demonstrative as their father. Anne

Jemima says of him, "Our father was most affectionate, loving, and

watchful over his children. It was from him that we received many of

the smaller cares which usually come from a mother."30 Though Clough

inherited a similar capacity for the tender care of others from his

father, it was from his mother, with whom he was in most constant con-

tact as a youngster, that he learned the necessity for moral probity

that became one of the primary marks of his character. She read to her

children often. "She was very fond of reading, especially works on re-

ligious subjects, poetry and history.... She loved what was grand, noble,

and enterprising, and was truly religious.... She loved to dwell on all

that was stern and noble."31 During his last years at home, before he

went to Rugby, young Arthur was her constant companion, and since they

shared a serious character and a love of reading, her influence upon

Arthur was greater than upon any of the other children. "It was the


mother's tendency that relatives and friends were accustomed to find
dominant in Arthur."32 And the most dominant characteristic in both

Arthur and his mother was the love of the stern and noble, the aspiring

concern for moral purity and uprightness.

The influences that Arthur Hugh Clough met with at Rugby only

acted to reinforce his mother's training. One of the clearest indi-

cations of Clough's moral concern as a schoolboy is found in his letters

to his brother, George. George was attending a different school in

England and Arthur, in his letters to George, served as the helpful,

older brother. In nearly every one of these letters the idea that one

must devote one's self to moral purity before God occupies a large part

of the correspondence. It is certainly quite unlikely that young George

Clough was a rake or rowdy. The strongly moralistic character of Arthur's

letters to George cannot be accounted for on the basis of some character

flaw in George. Instead, the reason for Arthur's moralizing is that

purity before God had become an overriding concern of Clough's at an

early age. When Arthur was fifteen he wrote to encourage his thirteen-

year-old brother to a more strenuously moralistic sort of life. "I

should think that you are not so dependent upon God's help as on your

own strength, which you know is nothing against Sin.... You must do

everything to please God, or else you are not as you ought to be....

You must grow in goodness and not day after day go round the same

duties no better today than you were yesterday."33 Though it sounds

as if George were on the brink of moral disaster, the fact is that he

had become irregular in his daily Bible readings and on one occasion

had told a lie.


To avoid the risk of making young Arthur seem like a moralizing

monster to a modern reader, it must be recalled that such thinking and

talk were quite the staple of the earnest Victorians.

The prophets of earnestness were attacking a casual,
easy-going, superficial, or frivolous attitude...and
demanding that men should think and men should live
with a high and serious purpose.... In the 1830's
the most sensitive minds became aware that England
was faced by a profound crisis. The intellectual
world, the Christian Church, and the social order
were all in grave peril, to be averted only by the
most earnest search for saving ideas and the most
earnest life of moral dedication.3

This attitude was widespread and since it accorded with Clough's early

training, and because he was directly under the influence of Dr. Arnold

who was one of the leading exponents of the necessity for moral earnest-

ness and purity, it was only natural that Clough would respond by whole-

heartedly adopting the idea himself. The letters to George indicate

that Clough went so far as to become involved in the dangerous idea

of moral perfectionism. In a letter of 1836 to George there is a clear

suggestion that Arthur himself had tried to correct all his own bad

habits at once and had been defeated in the process. Consequently,

he advises George against a similar attempt.35 But this experience

did not persuade Arthur that the attempt at all moral improvement was

in vain. Instead, he tried to attack his faults one at a time. It is

well to remember also that the moral faults that engaged his attention

were not such gross lapses as drunkenness or thievery; rather Clough

was seriously concerned about things like arguing with his brother and

sister and his tendency toward procrastination.

Since it has been indicated that Dr. Arnold was an important

exponent of Victorian morality and a major influence on Clough's thought,


it is necessary to indicate exactly how he had the opportunity and the

inclination to influence Clough toward moral purity. Dr. Arnold had

come to Rugby as headmaster only the year before Clough became a student

there. Upon becoming headmaster, Dr. Arnold began to institute many

reforms. As a schoolboy in the lower forms, Clough's relation to the

reforms that Dr. Arnold instituted was, of course, only passive. But

even then he was exposed to a close contact with the headmaster simply

by virtue of the fact that he lived for eight years in the Schoolhouse.36

There were several separate dwellings for the boys at Rugby and these

were under the administration of the several tutors, many of whom lived

in the same place with the boys. The Schoolhouse was under the direction

of Dr. Arnold and thus the Schoolhouse boys were more directly under his

supervision than were the remainder of the boys at Rugby. When it is

recalled that for most of the time while Clough was at Rugby his family

remained an ocean away in the United States and that Clough lived in

the same residence as did Dr. Arnold, it can be appreciated how natural

it was for Clough to turn to Dr. Arnold as a kind of surrogate father.

Clough often was invited into the Arnold family living quarters in the

Schoolhouse, probably because Mrs. Arnold felt sorry for the lonesome

boy who never had the chance to go home during the vacation periods.

As a result of being especially privileged in this way and because he

was a Schoolhouse boy, Clough fell more directly and personally under

the influence of Dr. Arnold than would have otherwise been the case.

A recollection of Clough and Dr. Arnold in class together suggests how

obvious to others Clough's close emotional ties to his teacher were.

An old friend of Clough's Rugby days recalls a schoolroom scenes


My seat was on the opposite side with my back
to the South window of the Library, the full
light from which streamed upon Clough's face
when he raised his head.... The dark hair drawn
across the white broad brow; beneath, the dark
deep eyes, the long black lashes and the thought-
ful countenance; and above all the almost feminine
expression of trust and affection with which he
looked up at Arnold in answering his questions
or hanging on his words.37

This recollection of a daily scene demonstrates most clearly that Clough

had come to be strongly influenced by the personality of Dr. Arnold.

Clough was not alone in falling under the great teacher's spell.

It seems that the most brilliant of his pupils were often the most re-

sponsive to the character and the ideas of Dr. Arnold. A. P. Stanley,

who wrote the first biography of Dr. Arnold, was so much affected by

the personality of his teacher that it was not until he had left Rugby

and had been for some years at Oxford that "Arnold had ceased to be

his 'oracle,' he confessed, but he kept his reverence wholly."38 How-

ever, when Dr. Arnold came up to Oxford in 1842 to take the Chair of

Modern History, he re-established his ascendancy over Stanley's mind.

It was not until Arnold's death that Stanley continued his own mental

development independently.39

Not all of Dr. Arnold's favorite students responded with such un-

qualified admiration. Gell, who was a good friend of Clough's, did not

fall under the Doctor's spell because, Woodward suggests, Gell had

trained himself to resist authority figures in his revolt against the

rigid Evangelicalism of his own clergyman father.40 After Gell had

left Rugby, however, he let himself grow closer to Dr. Arnold and so

it was upon Dr. Arnold's recommendation that Gell was offered the op-

portunity of being appointed to establish a college in Van Dieman's


Land. But Gell's emotional position was quite different from Clough's.

As a schoolboy Clough was far from revolting against a father figure;

instead, he was searching for one. His own father was seldom seen.

His family was never present for him to fall back upon for emotional

security. He quite naturally looked upon Dr. Arnold with much of the

reverence and respect that he would have given his own father.

While Clough derived some emotional strength from looking

upon Dr. Arnold in terms of a surrogate father, there was, however,

some emotional insecurity generated by this. Dr. Arnold, as his teacher,

stood before Clough as one who gave rewards for excellence in scholar-

ship and high praise for morality. It was continually incumbent upon

Clough to prove himself to such a father figure. His hard work upon

his studies was largely motivated by his desire to please Dr. Arnold.

It was observed earlier how hard Clough pushed himself in regard to

his studies. It was only natural that Clough would try just as hard

to win Dr. Arnold's moral approval. Just how far Clough succeeded in

winning Dr. Arnold's approval can be judged by a letter Dr. Arnold

sent to Clough's uncle, Alfred Clough, the Oxford don, upon the oc-

casion of Arthur's matriculation at Oxford. Dr. Arnold wrote, "I cannot

resist my desire of congratulating you most heartily on the delightful

close of your nephew's long career at Rugby, where he was passed eight

years without a fault...where he has gone on ripening gradually in all

excellence intellectual and spiritual...and regarded by myself...with

an affection and interest hardly less than I should feel for my own

son."41 The cost to Clough for his success in winning the approval

of Dr. Arnold was that he developed a certain sense of emotional in-


security, together with an excessive attachment to moral probity.

The attitude of insecurity toward father figures can be observed in

"The Lawyer's First Tale" in Mari Magno which Clough wrote during the

last year of his life. Many of the Lawyer's experiences and attitudes

are the same as those Clough had as a young man. It is revealing to

observe, moreover, that the Lawyer, like young Clough, looked upon

older men with a sense of insecurity. The Lawyer says that he "Looked

to their father still with fear/ Of how to him I must appear."42

Clough's sense of insecurity in his hard won approval from his surro-

gate father, Dr. Arnold, would naturally act to make him try even

harder. From all of this it can be seen that there was a great deal

of energy generated within Clough during his Rugby years to cause him

to strive for a high moral character. Consequently, the necessity for

moral purity became deeply ingrained in his personality.

It was, of course, Dr. Arnold's deliberate and continual aim

to cultivate a high moral character in his pupils and the primary source

of that morality was placed in religious training. As Dr. Arnold ex-

pressed it, "Physical science alone can never make a man educated;

even the formal sciences...invaluable as they are with respect to the

discipline of the reasoning powers, cannot instruct the judgment; it

is only moral and religious knowledge which can accomplish this." 3

Dr. Arnold did not separate religious training from other matters,

but instead, incorporated it into all the other matters. Thus he

created a pervasively religious influence at Rugby "which often made

it impossible for his pupils to say in after life, of much that had

influenced them, whether they had derived it from what was spoken in


school, in the pulpit, or in private."44 This was only to be expected

because it was one of Dr. Arnold's deepest convictions that any se-

paration of the sacred from the secular was inimicable to both theology

and morality. The final attitude that Dr. Arnold sought as the fruit

of his moral training was that his pupils would develop a kind of un-

conscious tendency toward good. He did not so much strive against

particular vices, simply to check their outbreak, but he castigated

individual sins in an attempt to create a more generalized attitude of

"abhorrence of evil" within his students.45 And while he used every

opportunity in school and in private, as Stanley pointed out, the

clearest expression of Dr. Arnold's moral training available for ex-

amination by a modern scholar is found in his sermons. Houghton applies

this description to Dr. Arnold's sermonst "A passionate and sustained

earnestness after a high moral rule, seriously realized in conduct, is

the dominant character of these sermons."46 It was Dr. Arnold's in-

tention to bring "every thought, and word, and deed, into the obedience

of Christ."47

Given Dr. Arnold's attitude toward a rigorous moral life, and

Clough's intimate exposure to Dr. Arnold's personality and teaching,

Clough's emphasis in his letters to his brother, George, upon a similar

moral purity under God becomes more understandable. One area of that

morality which may properly be singled out for specific attention is

the matter of lying. This will be profitable not only as an example

of how Dr. Arnold treated moral questions, but primarily it will il-

lustrate how Clough responded to Dr. Arnold's moral teaching. The

question of honesty is also important because it brings together Clough's


attitude toward moral purity and his response to reality. It was

shown earlier that Clough felt that he must keep his poetry in constant

contact with both the objective, daily realities of common life, and

that he must report his subjective experiences, his inner reality, with

complete honesty. This is an important element in any consideration of

Clough's poetry, particularly his Dipsychian poetry.

In Clough's letters to George the temptation toward lying is

singled out for treatment more often than any other of the possible

temptations to which schoolboys may fall victim. Outside of George's

one lapse in this regard, there is no evidence that it was a special

failing of his and certainly no one ever attributed dishonesty to Arthur

Hugh Clough. Thus the reason for its so frequent treatment is probably

not to be found in any tendency toward dishonesty on the part of either

of the schoolboy correspondents. However, Arthur writes George, "You

say you are tempted every hour. I do not know what to in particular.

But I should fancy that lying was a very general fault jof schoolboys7."48

What led Arthur to assume that lying was a general fault among school-

boys would, in part, be his own experience with other boys, but also

Dr. Arnold had placed a particular emphasis upon the sin of lying while

at the same time his goal of creating a general"abhbbrence of evil" in

his schoolboy charges often filled his sermons with the perils of the

"little sins" such as lying.49 So it seems that one reason for Clough's

insistent treatment of this particular sin in his letters to his brother

is found in the emphasis that Dr. Arnold had given to it. "Lying, for

example, to the masters, he made a great moral offence; placing implicit

confidence in a boy's assertion, and then, if a falsehood was discovered,

punishing it severe.y." Stanley also adds that this general attitude

of trust and severe punishment for obvious lapses worked well. "There

grew up in consequence a general feeling that it was a shame to tell

Arnold a lie."50 Since Dr. Arnold had made so much of this sin, it is

not surprising that it should appear in Clough's poetry as well as in

his letters to his brother, George.

In Clough's mature poetry the lie becomes a symbol for all self-

deception because for Clough it was one sin that by its very nature de-

stroys man's relationship with his environment. When a man lies, he

denies what he knows to be true of reality and, consequently, is in

danger of getting out of touch with reality should he continue to lie.

Since Clough's enjoyment of active involvement with reality and his

sense of the significance of reality have been examined earlier and it

has been seen that Clough had more than a moralistic concern with truth

and language, it is only to be expected that Clough would take so seri-

ously the sin of lying. His contact with reality was a basic touchstone

for truth with him. Clough often expressed his dependence for certainty

upon his sense of reality with the half humorous phrase, "Reconcile what

you have to say with green peas, for green peas are certain."51 In his

sonnet "Yes, I have lied, and so must walk my way," Clough brings out

the idea that lying and its concomitant self-deception destroy one's

relationship with the world around him. He opens the poem showing that

the immorality of the lie alienates one from God. "Yes, I have lied,

and so must walk my way,/ Bearing the liar's curse upon my head."52

But the punishment for the sin is that the curse divorces one from an

intimacy with reality. Clough used the lost enjoyment of nature to


symbolize this. "Therefore for me sweet Nature's scenes reveal not/

Their charm."53 But Clough further recognizes that the lie corrupts

the enjoyment of art and the relationship with other people, "...sweet

Music greets me and I feel not;/ Sweet eyes pass off me uninspired;"54

All avenues of contact with reality are corrupted by the lie.

In another poem from Ambarvalia Clough examines the matter in

a more Dipsychian fashion, examining the advantages and disadvantages

of being true to his inner reality. The issue is whether one should

accept a conventional view of things, which would be true to one's self,

or whether one should be true to one's own inner apprehension of reality.

The basic imagery is that of music and the poet phrases the problem in

terms of the dance. "Why should about to music that I hear

not?" The answer is obvious unless he does, he "Shall be shoved and

be twisted by all he shall meet."55 But with a typical Dipsychian turn

of the argument Clough opens the possibility that if he remains true to

his own inner music, soon he may perceive the whole truth, the whole

melody to which others are now dancing, and then he would be in complete

accord with them. "And I anon, the music in my soul,/ In a moment read

the whole;/ The music in my heart,/ Joyously take my part,/ And hand in

hand, and heart with heart, with these retreat, advance."56 That kind

of complete accord that might come from remaining true to one's own

sense of inner reality seems then too great a hope to lose by a present,

premature assertion of his own sense of the music and so, perhaps after

all, he should remain true to himself.

Then in a style that Clough has made one of the keynotes of his
Dipsychian poetry, he turns the whole argument around upon itself and


challenges the basic assumption of the whole poem in the very last lines.

He presents the possibility that tortures every independent thinker.

What if what he believes is so true turns out, in fact, to be only his

imagination and not reality at all? Clough sets this idea apart from

the rest of the poem in, what for him, is a rather amateurish fashion.

After nine lines that have been given to an energetic description of

the dance as he imagines it would be if his own inner music should soon

accord with that of others, then Clough interrupts the gay picture by

repeating three times, "alas!" This device serves to mark the final

turn in this Dipsychian poem--the questioning of the premise itself.

"Alas! alas( alast and what if all along/ The music is not sounding?"57

With that striking twist in the thought of the poem, not only is the

truth of his own inner truth brought into question, but Clough's sug-

gestion that there may not be any music at all implies that all the

dancers are simply dancing to accommodate each other. No one has re-

sponded to truth. None are in accord with reality. And even the truth

that the poet feels within himself may be only a species of self-decep-

tion after all. This would finally mean that nothing is possible except

a lib4. And so this poem presents a double Dipsychian balance. Then

Clough, by his ending to the poem, presents the second set of alter-

natives. Is it possible to be true to reality or not? This poem, be-

yond being a clever example of Clough's Dipsychian poetry, serves to

illustrate how far Clough's thought has progressed beyond Dr. Arnold's

simple morality in regard to the matter of lying.

That Clough moved beyond Dr. Arnold is only to be expected.

Most of Dr. Arnold's pupils did the same.58 The typical pattern, as


Woodward examines it in hae study of several of Dr. Arnold's most

prominent pupils--Clough among them--is that these students, as they

developed to manhood and old age, took aspects of Dr. Arnold's thought

far beyond where he himself had taken it. Of course, this can be partly

accounted for by the fact that Dr. Arnold died before he reached fifty

years of age. Presumably, if he had lived longer, he might have de-

veloped his thought in much the same directions that his pupils did.

But since he died quite early in life, his pupils were free to think

of him as he had seemed to them while they were schoolboys, and, per-

haps a bit unfairly, they did criticize his thought and his method of


Clough, perhaps because he was actively engaged in education

throughout his life, found some fault with Dr. Arnold's method of

teaching. Even while Dr. Arnold was alive many people found fault with

his method of putting a heavy responsibility for the morality of the

schoolboys upon the older students. They complained about his "forcing

youth into manhood."59 This was not the ground of objection that Clough

took. Clough's principal objection was that Dr. Arnold put too heavy

an emphasis upon the moral character of young boys. Clough wished that

Dr. Arnold had placed less emphasis upon moral purity and had allowed

more freedom from moral evaluation. In the "Epilogue" to Dipsychus

Clough puts this type of an objection into the mouth of the old Uncle

when the Uncle objects to the Rugby students by stating, "They're all

so pious." And the Uncle adds that the reason that he objects to this

piety is that it makes boys so trained unfit to engage in the active

life of worldly reality when they become men. "They're so full of the


notion of the world being so wicked and of their taking a higher line,

as they call it. I only fear they'll never take any at all."60 That

Clough shared this view which he put into the mouth of the character of

the old Uncle is apparent when it is observed that Clough says the same

thing in a book review that he wrote about the same time.61 In that

"Review of Mr. Newman's The Soul" Clough raises the same objection to

a too rigorous boyhood moral training because it makes an involvement

with worldly affairs in manhood unnecessarily difficult.

When one examines the situation with a strict logic, however,

it becomes more apparent that an emphasis upon moral purity does not

in itself mean that people would feel they could not maintain their

purity if they actively engaged in a life of close contact with common-

place, worldly reality. They could feel that they would remain pure,

for example, if they felt that the world did not tend toward the cor-

ruption of their principles, Clough did not feel so. His mentor, Dr.

Arnold, also felt that the world was full of the tendency to corrupt

morality, "My sense of the evils of the times, and to what prospects

I am bringing up my children, is overwhelmingly bitter. All in the

moral and physical world appears exactly to announce the coming of the

'great day of the Lord,' i.e. a period of fearful visitation to termi-

nate the existing state of things."62 This apocalyptic vision is

thoroughly within the orthodox tradition of Christianity and it would

not be necessary to pursue its evident presence in Dr. Arnold's thought

because Clough could scarcely have avoided the idea that the world was

evil. He had learned much the same idea from his mother earlier. These

attitudes toward the evilness of the world and the need for moral purity

were deepened through his contact with W. G. Ward.


Ward was not only Clough's tutor at Oxford, he was for several

years his intimate friend. Their intimacy was so close that others of

Clough's friends tried to counsel Clough to sever his relationship with

Ward. At this time Ward was using his keen mind to probe the possi-

bility that his own religious perplexities could be solved by adopting

the kind of rigorously moral religion that Whately and Dr. Arnold were

promoting. He used the Rugby boys who came to Oxford to try out their

ideas, "finding in them 'a sort of flesh and blood argument for the

powerful living force of Arnold's religion.'"63 Clough was the most

Arnoldian of the Rugby boys at Oxford and Ward was drawn to him as much

by his enjoyment of Clough's character as by his embodiment of Arnoldian

principles. It was generally admitted that Ward's influence upon Clough

upset Clough at thetime and Ward himself, in a letter to Mrs. Clough

many years later, reproached himself with the damage that he supposed

he had done to Clough's religious development.64 He had forced Clough

to question everything but, as Woodward observes, if Ward had not done

it, someone else would have.65 The tendency to question was part of

Clough's character and his capacity to see both sides of a question as

if he fully believed each side is the source of his Dipsychian poetry.

But in one important matter Ward's influence supported that of Dr.

Arnold and Clough's own early training. Ward's retreat into the Roman

Catholic Church, even before Newman made a similar move, was caused

not only by his search for a religious authority to quell the swelling

doubts of his relentlessly logical mind. Ward entered the Roman Catholic

Church also because this move offered him a retreat from the dangers he

envisioned in an invoviement with the world. Ward thought that "Worldli-


ness, under the specious appearance of knowledge of the world, or under

the plea of common sense, would often obtain a footing which might after-

wards grow until the spirit of this world had altogether expelled the

Spirit of God."66 Ward thus encouraged in Clough the idea that involve-

ment with the world, from no matter what innocent motives, left one open

to what he called "the circuambient poison" of worldliness.67

That Clough maintained this notion in his later life appears

from salient references in his poetry such as Claude's reference to the

"taint of the shop" in The Amours de Voyage (Canto I, Section VI) and

in such lines in Clough's lyrics as these quoted below where he is re-

pelled by the idea of entering business because one is compelled "To

stoop and pick the dirty pence,/ A taint upon one's innocence."68 That

Clough held such an attitude can also be partly accounted for by his

singular ignorance of business. He never had much contact with his

father's business. Clough recognized his ignornace of the real world

around him and admitted as much in his letter to Shairpi "Actual life

is unknown to an Oxford student, even though he is not a mere Puseyite

and goes on jolly reading parties."69 Clough lived his early years at

Rugby and at Oxford, insulated from the life of business and worldly

affairs. It was only at University Hall that he first had any genuine

contact with the world beyond academia. Consequently, he could never

really sympathize with the bourgeois ethos. "Bagehot says that Clough

could not understand a shopkeeper who had been carefully brought up."?70

The distance that Clough felt between himself and the middle class mind

was partially a result of his having had too little contact with these
minds and because he had been involved almost exclusively with the upper


class and the intelligencia.71 A more important cause of Clough's

alienation from the middle class, however, was the fact that he held

moral purity in so high an esteem. Anyone who aspires to maintain the

very highest degree of moral purity must necessarily examine all the

small ethical acts of business with particular care and, because of his

extreme moral sensitivity, he will find shocking moral failures where

another person would only see ordinary business practice. Clough re-

cognized this sensitivity within himself and expressed it with his usual

candor. "Now, the over-tender conscience will, of course, exaggerate

the wickedness of the world."72 Thus it was not only the direct teachings

of his mother, Dr. Arnold and W. G. Ward, all of whom believed the world

tends to corrupt those who become too actively involved with it, but

also Clough's own acceptance of a necessity of moral purity which caused

him to see impurity in the world around him.

Probably Clough's most complete expression of the idea that the

world tends to corrupt morals is to be found in one of his essays en-

titled "The Beneficial and Harmful Effects of Foreign Trade." Here he

discussed all trade, not just foreign trade. Yet he devoted only one

sixth of the essay to the possible benefits of trade. And even there

the benefits are closely hedged about with restrictions until only one

possible benefit emerges and that benefit, characteristically, is trade's

potential for service. But the restrictions he attached to the benefits

of trade prevent one from seriously thinking that Clough believed much

service to man could come from commerce because his first requirement

is that selfishness (i.e. profit and competition) should be eliminated.

"Could we once deprive Commerce of its selfishness, its natural vigour


and activity in the service of noble and disinterested feelings would

work effect beyond hope or calculation."73 How far Clough feared that

one would be propelled toward a jeopardy of one's moral probity by in-

volvement with trade is shown by the very next sentence. "The dangers

of such Pursuits are doubtless most terrible."74 The basic danger which

Clough had outlined earlier in the essay was that of moral corruption.

"What wonder if the maxim of men's conduct should now /Fn a rich, com-

mercial society become Seek money first and Virtue afterl and if they

themselves should be ready to sacrifice self-respect and affection,

kindly feelings and noble impulses of all kinds in obedience to this

new Principle."75 Such sentiments are just such as would be expected

from a person with Clough's training with its emphasis upon moral purity

and the rampant evils of the world which corrupt that moral purity.

In light of the discussion of Clough's essay about the moral

dangers of trade, it is necessary to point out that neither Clough nor

his instructors in morality saw trade as the only corrupter. Trade

was simply the more obvious part of the world which corrupted. The

ultimate corrupter was the world itself. Any active engagement with

it was suspect and probably dangerous to the moral sense. Clough makes

the point of the general corrupting influence quite clear in one of his

most poignant, dramatic monologues, "Sa Majeste TresChretienne." In

this poem the speaker is a French king following the time of Luther

and since there is a marginal note (L. XV) in the manuscript, it is

reasonable to assume that Louis XV is indicated.76 Apparently, how-

ever, this poem is not intended as a historical description of that

monarch because Clough has suppressed the actual identity of the king

in the text of the poem.