There is a touch of Byron, Swinburne and even of Schopenhauer in many of his rubais, which clearly proves that the modern pessimist is by no means a novel creature in the realm of philo- sophic thought and poetical imagination.
He has been represented as a determined apologist of intellectual orthodoxy animated by an almost fanatical "hatred of reason," and possessed with a purpose to overthrow the appeal to reason; as a sceptic and pessimist of a far deeper dye than Montaigne, anxious chiefly to show how any positive decision on matters beyond the range of experience is impossible; as a nervous believer clinging to conclusions which his clearer and better sense showed to be indefensible; as an almost ferocious ascetic and paradoxer affecting the credo quia impossibile in intellectual matters and the odi quia amabile in matters moral and sensuous; as a wanderer in the regions of doubt and belief, alternately bringing a vast though vague power of thought and an unequalled power of expression to the expression of ideas incompatible and irreconcilable.
Carlyle was throughout a pessimist or a prophet denouncing a backsliding world.
He is a pessimist as regards women; "From a woman was the beginning of sin; and because of her we all die" (xxv.
Till Amos (with the solitary exception of Micaiah ben Imlah, in i Kings xxii.) prophecy was optimist - even Elijah, if he denounced the destruction of a dynasty and the annihilation of all who had bowed the knee to Baal, never doubted of the future of the nation when only the faithful remained; but the new prophecy is pessimist - it knows that Israel is rotten to the core, and that the whole fabric of society must be dissolved before reconstruction is possible.