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An essay by Goldwin Smith

An Address To The Oxford School Of Science And Art

Title:     An Address To The Oxford School Of Science And Art
Author: Goldwin Smith [More Titles by Smith]



You will not expect me, in complying with the custom which requires your Chairman to address a few words to you before distributing the prizes, to give you instruction about Art or Science. One who was educated, as I was, under the old system, can hardly see without a pang the improvement that has been made in education since his time. In a public school, in my day, you learned nothing of Science, Art, or Music. Having received nothing, I have nothing to give. Fortunately, the only thing of importance to be said this evening can be said without technical knowledge of any kind. The School of Art needs better accommodation. The financial details will be explained to you by those who are more conversant with them than I am. I will only say that parsimony in this matter on the part of the government or other public bodies will, in my humble opinion, be unwise. I am not for a lavish expenditure of public money, even on education. It would be a misfortune if parental duty were to be cast on the State, and parents were to be allowed to forget that they are bound to provide their children with education as well as with bread. But it seems that at this moment the soundest and even the most strictly commercial policy would counsel liberality in providing for the National Schools of Art and Science. England is labouring under commercial depression. Of the works in the manufacturing districts, many are running half time, and some, I fear, are likely, if things do not mend, to stop. When I was there the other day gloom was on all faces. Some people seem to think that the bad time will pass away of itself, and that a good time will come again like a new moon. It is a comfortable but a doubtful doctrine. And suppose the good time does not come again, the outlook for those masses and their employers is dark. A friend of mine, who is a manufacturer, said to me the other day that he had been seeing the ruins of a feudal castle, and that the sight set him thinking if factories should ever, like feudal castles, fall into decay, what their ruins would be like? They would be unromantic no doubt, even by moonlight. But much worse than the ruins of buildings would be the ruin among the people. Imagine these swarming multitudes, or any large proportion of them, left by the failure of employment without bread. It would be something like a chronic Indian famine. The wealth of England is unparalleled, unapproached in commercial history. Add Carthage to Tyre, Venice to Carthage, Amsterdam to Venice, you will not make anything like a London. Ten thousand pounds paid for a pair of china vases. A Roman noble under the Empire might have rivalled this, but the wealth of the Roman nobles was not the fruit of industry, it was the plunder of the world. You can hardly imagine how those who come fresh from a new country like Canada, or parts of the United States--a land just redeemed from the wilderness, with all its untrimmed roughness, its fields half tilled and full of stumps, its snake fences, and the charred pines which stand up gaunt monuments of forest fires--are impressed, I might almost say ravished, by the sight of the lovely garden which unlimited wealth expended on a limited space has made of England. This country, too, has an immense capital invested in the funds and securities of foreign nations, and in this way draws tribute from the world, though, unhappily, we are being made sensible of the fact that money lent to a foreign government is lent to a debtor on whom you cannot distrain. But the sources of this fabulous prosperity, are they inexhaustible? In part, we may hope they are. A maritime position, admirably adapted for trading with both hemispheres, a race of first- rate seamen, masses of skilled labour, vast accumulations of machinery and capital--these are advantages not easily lost. And there is still in England good store of coal and iron. Not so stable, however, is the advantage given to England by the effects of the Napoleonic war, which for the time crushed all manufactures and mercantile marines but hers. Now, the continental nations are developing manufactures and mercantile marines of their own. You go round asking them to alter their tariffs, so as to enable you to recover their markets, and almost all of them refuse; about the only door you have really succeeded in getting opened to you is that of France, and this was opened, not by the nation, but by an autocrat, who had diplomatic purposes of his own. The _Times_, indeed, in a noteworthy article the other day, undertook to prove that a great manufacturing and trading nation might lose its customers without being much the worse for it, but this seems too good to be true; I fancy Yorkshire and Lancashire would say so. Is it not that very margin of profit of which _The Times_ speaks so lightly, which, being accumulated, has created the wealth of England? Your manufacturers are certainly under the impression that they want markets, and the loss of the great American market seems to them a special matter of concern. It is doubtful whether that market would be restored to them even by an alteration of the tariff. The coal in the great American coal fields is much nearer the surface, and consequently more cheaply worked, than the coal in England; iron is as plentiful, and it is near the coal; labour, which has been much dearer there, is now falling to the English level. Tariff or no tariff, America will probably keep her own market for the heavier and coarser goods. But there is still a kind of goods, in the production of which the old country will long have a great advantage. I mean the lighter, finer, and more elegant goods, the products of cultivated taste and of trained skill in design--that very kind of goods, in short, the character of which these Schools of Art are specially intended to improve. Industry and invention the new world has in as ample a measure as the old; invention in still ampler measure, for the Americans are a nation of inventors; but cultivated taste and its special products will long be the appanage of old countries. It will be long before anything of that kind will pass current in the new world without the old world stamp. Adapt your industry in some degree to changed requirements; acquire those finer faculties which the Schools of Design aim at cultivating, but which, in the lucrative production of the coarser goods, have hitherto been comparatively neglected, and you may recover a great American market; it is doubtful whether you will in any other way. Therefore, I repeat, to stint the Art and Science Schools would seem bad policy. I may add that it would be specially bad policy here in Oxford, where, under the auspices of a University which is now extending its care to Art as well as Science, it would seem that the finer industries, such as design applied to furniture, decoration of all kinds, carving, painted glass, bookbinding, ought in time to do particularly well. If you wish to prosper, cultivate your speciality; the rule holds good for cities as well as for men.

There are some, perhaps, who dislike to think of Art in connection with anything like manufacture. Let us, then, call it design, and keep the name of art for the higher pursuit. Your Instructor presides, I believe, with success, and without finding his duties clash, over a school, the main object of which is the improvement of manufactures, and another school dedicated to the higher objects of aesthetic cultivation. The name manufacture reminds you of machines, and you may dislike machines and think there is something offensive to artists in their products. Well, a machine does not produce, or pretend to produce, poetry or sculpture; it pretends to clothe thousands of people who would otherwise go naked. It is itself often a miracle of human intellect. It works unrestingly that humanity may have a chance to rest. If it sometimes supersedes higher work, it far more often, by relieving man of the lowest work, sets him free for the higher. Those heaps of stones broken by the hammer of a poor wretch who bends over his dull task through the weary day by the roadside, scantily clad, in sharp frost perhaps or chilling showers, are they more lovely to a painter's eye than if they had been broken, without so much human labour and suffering, by a steam stone-crusher? No one doubts the superior interest belonging to any work however imperfect, of individual mind; but if we were not to use a pair of tongs that did not bear the impress of individual mind, millionaires might have tongs, but the rest of us would put on coals with our fingers. After all, what is a machine but a perfect tool? The Tyrian loom was a machine, though it was worked by hand and not by steam; and if the Tyrian had known the power loom, depend upon it he would have used it. Without machines, the members of this School might all be grinding their corn with hand mills, instead of learning Art. Common humanity must use manufactured articles; even uncommon humanity will find it difficult to avoid using them, unless it has the courage of its convictions to the same extent as George Fox, the Quaker, who encased himself in an entire suit of home-made leather, bearing the impress of his individual mind; and defied a mechanical and degenerate world. The only practical question is whether the manufactures shall be good or bad, well-designed or ill; South Kensington answers, that if training can do it, they shall be good and well designed.

There are the manufacturing multitudes of England; they must have work, and find markets for their work; if machines and the Black Country are ugly, famine would be uglier still. I have no instruction to give you, and you would not thank me for wasting your time with rhetorical praise of art, even if I had all the flowers of diction at my command. To me, as an outer barbarian, it seems that some of the language on these subjects is already pretty high pitched. I have thought so even in reading that one of Mr. Addington Symond's most attractive volumes about Italy which relates to Italian art. Art is the interpreter of beauty, and perhaps beauty, if we could penetrate to its essence, might reveal to us something higher than itself. But Art is not religion, nor is connoisseurship priesthood. To happiness Art lends intensity and elevation; but in affliction, in ruin, in the wreck of affection how much can Phidias and Raphael do for you? A poet makes Goethe say to a sceptical and perplexed world, "Art still has truth, take refuge there." It would be a poor refuge for most of us; it was so even for the great Goethe; for with all his intellectual splendour, his character never rose above a grandiose and statuesque self-love; he behaved ill to his country, ill to women. Instead of being religion, Art seems, for its own perfection, to need religion--not a system of dogma, but a faith. This, probably, we all feel when we look at the paintings in the Church of Assisi or in the Arena Chapel at Padua. Perhaps those paintings also gain something by being in the proper place for religious art, a Church. Since the divorce of religious art from religion, it has been common to see a Crucifixion hung over a sideboard. That age was an age of faith; and so most likely was the glorious age of Greek art in its way. Ours is an age of doubt, an age of doubt and of strange cross currents and eddies of opinion, ultra scepticism penning its books in the closet while the ecclesiastical forms of the Middle Ages stalk the streets. Art seems to feel the disturbing influence like the rest of life. Poetry feels it less than other arts, because there is a poetry of doubt and Tennyson is its poet. Art is expression, and to have high expression you must have something high to express. In the pictures at our exhibitions there may be great technical skill; I take it for granted there is; but in the subject surely there is a void, an appearance of painful seeking for something to paint, and finding very little. When you come to a great picture of an Egyptian banquet in the days of the Pharaohs, you feel that the painter must have had a long way to go for something to paint. Certainly this age is not indifferent to beauty. The art movement is in every house; everywhere you see some proof of a desire to possess not mere ornament but something really rare and beautiful. The influence transmutes children's picture books and toys. I turned up the other day a child's picture book of the days of my childhood; probably it had been thought wonderfully good in its time; and what a thing it was. Some day our doubts may be cleared up; our beliefs may be settled; faith may come again; life may recover its singleness and certainty of aim; poetry may gush forth once more as fresh as Homer, and the art of the future may appear. What is most difficult to conceive, perhaps, is the sculpture of the future; because it is hardly possible that the moderns should ever have such facilities as the ancients had for studying the human form. In presence of the overwhelming magnificence of the sculpture in the museums of Rome and Naples, one wonders how Canova and Co. can have looked with any complacency on their own productions. There seems reason by the way to think that these artists worked not each by himself, but in schools and brotherhoods with mutual aid and sympathy; and this is an advantage equally within the reach of modern art. Meantime, though the Art of the future delays to come, modern life is not all hideous. There are many things, no doubt, such as the Black Country and the suburbs of our cities, on which the eye cannot rest with pleasure. But Paris is not hideous. There may be in the long lines of buildings too much of the autocratic monotony of the Empire, but the city, as a whole, is the perfect image of a brilliant civilization. From London beauty is almost banished by smoke and fog, which deny to the poor architect ornament, colour, light and shadow, leaving him nothing but outline. No doubt besides the smoke and fog there is a fatality. There is a fatality which darkly impels us to place on our finest site, and one of the finest in Europe, the niggard facade and inverted teacup dome of the National Gallery; to temper the grandeurs of Westminster by the introduction of the Aquarium, with Mr. Hankey's Tower of Babel in the near distance; to guard against any too-imposing effect which the outline of the Houses of Parliament might have by covering them with minute ornament, sure to be blackened and corroded into one vast blotch by smoke; to collect the art wonders of Pigtail Place; to make the lions in Trafalgar Square lie like cats on a hearth-rug, instead of supporting themselves on a slope by muscular action, like the lions at Genoa; to perch a colossal equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, arrayed in his waterproof cape, and mounted on a low-shouldered hack instead of a charger, on the top of an arch, by way of perpetual atonement to France for Waterloo; and now to think of planting an obelisk of the Pharaohs on a cab-stand. An obelisk of the Pharaohs in ancient Rome was an august captive, symbolizing the university of the Roman Empire, but an obelisk of the Pharaohs in London symbolizes little more than did the Druidical ring of stones which an English squire of my acquaintance purchased in one of the Channel Islands and set up in his English park. As to London we must console ourselves with the thought that if life outside is less poetic than it was in the days of old, inwardly its poetry is much deeper. If the house is less beautiful the home is more so. Even a house in what Tennyson calls the long unlovely street is not utterly unlovely when within it dwell cultivated intellect, depth of character and tenderness of affection. However the beauty of English life is in the country and there it may challenge that of Italian palaces. America is supposed to be given over to ugliness. There are a good many ugly things there and the ugliest are the most pretentious. As it is in society so it is in architecture. America is best when she is content to be herself. An American city with its spacious streets all planted with avenues of trees with its blocks of buildings far from unimpeachable probably in detail yet stately in the mass with its wide spreading suburbs where each artizan has his neat looking house in his own plot of ground and light and air and foliage with its countless church towers and spires far from faultless yet varying the outline might not please a painters eye but it fills your mind with a sense of well rewarded industry of comfort and even opulence shared by the toiling man of a prosperous, law-loving, cheerful, and pious life. I cannot help fancying that Turner, whose genius got to the soul of everything, would have made something of even in American city. The cities of the Middle Ages were picturesquely huddled within walls for protection from the violence of the feudal era, the cities of the New World spread wide in the security of an age of law and a continent of peace. At Cleveland in Ohio there is a great street called Euclid Avenue, lined with villas each standing in its own grounds and separated from each other and from the street only by a light iron fencing instead of the high brick wall with which the Briton shuts out his detested kind. The villas are not vast or suggestive of over-grown plutocracy, they are suggestive of moderate wealth, pleasant summers, cheerful winters and domestic happiness. I hardly think you would call Euclid Avenue revolting. I say it with the diffidence of conscious ignorance but I should not be much afraid to show you one or two buildings that our Professor of Architecture at Cornell University has put up for us on a bluff over Cayuga Lake, on a site which you would certainly admit to be magnificent. If I could have ventured on any recommendation concerning Art, I should have pleaded before the Royal Commission for a Chair of Architecture here. It might endow us with some forms of beauty; it might at all events endow us with rules for building a room in which you can be heard, one in which you can breathe, and a chimney which would not smoke. I said that in America the most pretentious buildings were the worst. Another source of failure in buildings, in dress, and not in these alone, is servile imitation of Europe. In northern America the summer is tropical, the winter is arctic. A house ought to be regular and compact in shape, so as to be easily warmed from the centre, with a roof of simple construction, high pitched, to prevent the snow from lodging, and large eaves to throw it off,--this for the arctic winter, for the tropical summer you want ample verandas, which, in fact, are the summer sitting rooms. An American house built in this way is capable at least of the beauty which belongs to fitness. But as you see Parisian dresses under an alien sky, so you see Italian villas with excrescences which no stove can warm, and Tudor mansions with gables which hold all the snow. It is needless to say what is the result, when the New World undertakes to reproduce not only the architecture of the Old World, but that of classical Greece and Rome, or that of the Middle Ages. Jefferson, who was a classical republican, taught a number of his fellow citizens to build their homes like Doric temples, and you may imagine what a Doric temple freely adapted to domestic purposes must be. But are these attempts to revive the past very successful anywhere? We regard as a decided mistake the revived classicism of the last generation. May not our revived mediaevalism be regarded as a mistake by the generation that follows us? We could all probably point to some case in which the clashing of mediaeval beauties with modern requirements has produced sad and ludicrous results. There is our own museum; the best, I suppose, that could be done in the way of revival; the work of an architect whom the first judges deemed a man of genius. In that, ancient form and modern requirements seem everywhere at cross purposes. Nobody can deny that genius is impressed upon the upper part of the front, which reminds one of a beautiful building in an Italian city, though the structure at the side recalls the mind to Glastonbury, and the galaxy of chimneys has certainly no parallel in Italy. The front ought to stand in a street, but as it stands in a field its flanks have to be covered by devices which are inevitably weak. What is to be done with the back always seems to me one of the darkest enigmas of the future. The basement is incongruously plain and bare, in the street it would perhaps be partly hidden by the passengers. Going in, you find a beautiful mediaeval court struggling hard for its life against a railway station and a cloister, considerately offering you a shady walk or shelter from the weather round a room. Listen to the multitudinous voices of Science and you will hear that the conflict extends to practical accommodation. We all know it was not the fault of the architect, it was the fault of adverse exigencies which came into collision with his design, but this only strengthens the moral of the building against revivals. Two humble achievements, if we had chosen were certainly within our reach,--perfect adaptation to our object and inoffensive dignity. Every one who has a heart, however ignorant of architecture he may be, feels the transcendent beauty and poetry of the mediaeval churches. For my part I look up with admiration, as fervent as any one untrained in art can, to those divine creations of old religion which soar over the smoke and din of our cities into purity and stillness and seem to challenge us, with all our wealth and culture and science and mechanical power, to produce their peer till the age of faith shall return. Not Greek Art itself springing forth in its perfection from the dark background of primaeval history, seems to me a greater miracle than these. How poor beside the lowliest of them in religious effect in romance, in everything but size and technical skill, is any pile of neo-paganism even I will dare to say, St. Peter's. Yet for my part, deeply as I am moved by the religious architecture of the Middle Ages, I cannot honestly say that I ever felt the slightest emotion in any modern Gothic church. I will even own that, except where restoration rids us of the unchristian exclusiveness of pews, I prefer the unrestored churches, with something of antiquity about them, to the restored. There is a spell in mediaeval Art which has had power to bewitch some people into trying, or wishing to try, or fancying that they wish to try or making believe to fancy that they wish to try, to bring back the Middle Ages. You may hear pinings for the return of an age of force from gentle aestheticists, who, if the awe of force did return, would certainly be crushed like eggshells. There is a well-known tale by Hans Andersen, that great though child-like teacher, called the "Overshoes of Fortune." A gentleman, at an evening party, has been running down modern society and wishing he were in the heroic Middle Ages. In going away he unwittingly puts on the fairy overshoes, which have the gift of transporting the wearer at once to any place and time where he wishes to be. Stepping out he finds his own wish fulfilled--he is in the Middle Ages. There is no gas, the street is pitch dark, he is up to his ankles in mud, he is nearly knocked into the kennel by a mediaeval bishop returning from a revel with his roystering train, when he wants to cross the river there is no bridge; and after vainly inquiring his way in a tavern full of very rough customers, he wishes himself in the moon, and to the moon appropriately he goes. Mediaevalism can hardly be called anything but a rather enfeebling dream. If it were a real effort to live in the Middle Ages, your life would be one perpetual prevarication. You would be drawn by the steam engine to lecture against steam; you would send eloquent invectives against printing to the press, and you would be subsisting meanwhile on the interest of investments which the Middle Ages would have condemned as usury. If you were like some of the school, you would praise the golden silence of the Dark Ages and be talking all the time. And surely the hourly failure to act up to your principles, the hourly and conscious apostacy from your ideal, could beget nothing in the character but hollowness and weakness. No student of history can fail to see the moral interest of the Middle Ages, any more than an artist can fail to see their aesthetic interest. There were some special types of noble character then, of which, when they were done with, nature broke the mould. But the mould is broken, and it is broken for ever. Through aesthetic pining for a past age, we may become unjust to our own, and thus weaken our practical sense of duty, and lessen our power of doing good. I will call the age bad when it makes me so, is a wise saying, and worth all our visionary cynicism, be it never so eloquent. To say the same thing in other words, our age will be good enough for most of us, if there is genuine goodness in ourselves. Rousseau fancied he was soaring above his age, not into the thirteenth century, but into the state of nature, while he was falling miserably below his own age in all the common duties and relations of life; and he was a type, not of enthusiasts, for enthusiasm leads to action, but of mere social dreamers. Where there is duty, there is poetry, and tragedy too, in plenty, though it be in the most prosaic row of dingy little brick houses with clothes hanging out to dry, or rather to be wetted, behind them, in all Lancashire. We have commercial fraud now, too much of it; and the declining character of English goods is a cause of their exclusion from foreign markets, as well as hostile tariffs; so that everything South Kensington can do to uphold good and genuine work will be of the greatest advantage to the English trade. But if anyone supposes that there was no commercial fraud in the Middle Ages, let him study the commercial legislation of England for that period, and his mind will be satisfied, if he has a mind to be satisfied and not only a fancy to run away with him. There was fraud beneath the cross of the Crusader, and there was forgery in the cell of the Monk. In comparing the general quality of work we must remember that it is the best work of those times that has survived. I think I could prove from history that mediaeval floors sometimes gave way even when there was no St. Dunstan there. You will recollect that the floor miraculously fell in at a synod, and killed all St. Dunstan's opponents; but sceptics, who did not easily believe in miracles, whispered that the Saint from his past habits, knew how to handle tools. We are told by those whose creed is embodied in "Past and Present" that this age is one vast anarchy, industrial and social; and that nothing but military discipline--that is the perpetual cry--will restore us to anything like order as workers or as men. Well, there are twenty thousand miles of railway in the three kingdoms, forming a system as complex as it is vast. I am told that at one junction, close to London, the trains pass for some hours at the rate of two in five minutes. Consider how that service is done by the myriads of men employed, and this in all seasons and weathers in overwhelming heat, in numbing cold, in blinding storm, in midnight darkness. Is not this an army pretty well disciplined, though its object is not bloodshed? If we see masses full of practical energy and good sense, but wanting in culture, let us take our culture to them, and perhaps they will give us some of their practical energy and good sense in return. Without that Black Country industry, all begrimed and sweaty, our fine culture could not exist. Everything we use, nay, our veriest toy represents lives spent for us in delving beneath the dark and perilous mine, in battling with the wintry sea, in panting before the glowing forge, in counting the weary hours over the monotonous and unresting loom, lives of little value, one could think, if there were no hereafter. Let us at least be kind. I go to Saltaire. I find a noble effort made by a rich man who kept his heart above wealth, Titus Salt-- he was a baronet, but we will spare him, as we spare Nelson, the derogatory prefix--to put away what is dark and evil in factory life. I find a little town, I should have thought not unpleasant to the eye, and certainly not unpleasant to the heart, where labour dwells in pure air, amidst beautiful scenery, with all the appliances of civilization, with everything that can help it to health, morality, and happiness. I find a man, who might, if he pleased, live idly in the lap of luxury, working like a horse in the management of this place, bearing calmly not only toil and trouble, but perverseness and ingratitude. Surely, aesthetic culture would be a doubtful blessing if it made us think or speak unsympathetically and rudely of Saltaire. Four hundred thousand people at Manchester are without pure water. They propose to get it from Thirlmere. For this they are denounced in that sort of language which is called strong, but the use of which is a sure proof of weakness, for irritability was well defined by Abernethy as debility in a state of excitement. Let us spare, whenever they can be spared, history and beauty; they are a priceless part of the heritage of a great industrial nation, and one which lost can never be restored. The only difference I ever had with my fellow-citizens in Oxford during a pretty long residence, arose out of my opposition to a measure which would have marred the historic character and the beauty of our city, while I was positively assured on the best authority that it was commercially inexpedient. If Thirlmere can be spared, spare Thirlmere; but if it is really needed to supply those masses with a necessary of life, the loveliest lake by which poet or artist ever wandered could not be put to a nobler use. I am glad in this to follow the Bishop of Manchester, who is not made of coarse clay, though he cares for the health as well as for the religion of his people. A schism between aesthetic Oxford and industrial Lancashire would be a bad thing for both; and South Kensington, which, while it teaches art, joins hands with industry, surely does well. It is needless to debate before this audience the question whether there is any essential antagonism between art or esthetic culture, and the tendencies of an age of science. An accidental antagonism there may be, an essential antagonism there cannot be. What is science but truth, and why should not truth and beauty live together? Is an artist a worse painter of the human body from being a good anatomist? Then why should he be a worse painter of nature generally, because he knows her secrets, or because they are being explored in his time? Would he render moonlight better if he believed the moon was a green cheese? Art and Science dwelt together well enough in the minds of Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo. In the large creative mind there is room for both; though the smaller and merely perceptive mind being fixed on one may sometimes not have room for the other. True, the perfect concord of art and science, like that of religion and science, may be still to come, and come, we hope, both concords will. One word more before we distribute the prizes. A system of prizes is a system of competition, and to competition some object. We can readily sympathise with their objection. Work done from love of the subject, or from a sense of duty, is better than work done for a prize, and, moreover, we cherish the hope that co-operation, not competition, will be the ultimate principle of industry, and the final state of man. But nothing hinders that, in working for a prize as in working for your bread, you may, at the same time, be working from sense of duty and love of the subject, and though co-operation may be our final state, competition is our present. Here the competition is at least fair. There can hardly be any doubt that the prize system often calls into activity powers of doing good work which would otherwise have lain dormant, and if it does this it is useful to the community, though the individual needs to be on his guard against its drawbacks in himself. In reading the Life of Lord Althorp the other day I was struck with the fact, for a fact, I think, it evidently was, that England had owed one of her worthiest and most useful statesmen to a college competition, which aroused him to a sense of his own powers, and of the duty of using them, whereas he would otherwise never have risen above making betting books and chronicling the performances of foxhounds. Perhaps about the worst consequence of the prize system, against which, I have no doubt, your Instructor guards, is undue discouragement on the part of those who do not win the prize. And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you were to receive your rewards from a hand which would lend them any additional value. But though presented by me they have been awarded by good judges; and as they have been awarded to you, I have no doubt you have deserved them well.

[The end]
Goldwin Smith's essay: An Address To The Oxford School Of Science And Art