Books > Old Books > A BRIEF HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE (1914)


Page 251

CHAPTER XII
THE VICTORIAN ERA

As he grew older, he no longer learned by heart without the least effort ; but even then, a man who could recite the whole of Pilgrim's Progress and Paradise Lost had small reason to complain of a poor memory, and he seemed to read books by simply turning the pages. After taking his degree he studied law, wrote a few articles for the E.... on magazines, and in 1825, when he was just milton. twenty-five years of age, published in the Edinburgh Review his Essay on Milton. Before the next number of the Review was out, the young contributor was a famous man. He had done something that no one else had succeeded in doing ; he had written in a style that was not only clear and strong and interesting, but was brilliant. Every sentence seemed to be the crystallization of a thought. Every sentence was so closely connected with what preceded it that the reader could almost feel that he was thinking along with the writer and that his own thoughts were being put into words.
just as in Addison's day, each political party was on the watch for young men of literary talent, and Macaulay soon had an opportunity to enter Parliament. A few years later he was given a government position in India with a salary that enabled him to return within three years with means sufficient to justify him in devoting himself to literature. Through the years between the publication of his Essay on Milton and I849, his literary fame was on the increase. He did most valuable work in connexion with the codification of Indian criminal law, he wrote a number of essays, the famous ones on Johnson and on Warren Hastings among them. He wrote his

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