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.
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.
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.