Literary Remains (1)
Part 5 out of 6
stopping to detect, for it flatters his love of mischief, and makes the
L. XII. One of Junius's arts, and which gives me a high notion of his
genius, as a poet and satirist, is this:--he takes for granted the
existence of a character that never did and never can exist, and then
employs his wit, and surprises and amuses his readers with analyzing its
L. XIV. Continual sneer, continual irony, all excellent, if it were not
for the 'all;'--but a countenance, with a malignant smile in statuary
fixure on it, becomes at length an object of aversion, however beautiful
the face, and however beautiful the smile. We are relieved, in some
measure, from this by frequent just and well expressed moral aphorisms;
but then the preceding and following irony gives them the appearance of
proceeding from the head, not from the heart. This objection would be
less felt, when the Letters were first published at considerable
intervals; but Junius wrote for posterity.
L. XXIII. Sneer and irony continued with such gross violation of good
sense, as to be perfectly nonsense. The man who can address another on
his most detestable vices in a strain of cold continual irony, is
himself a wretch.
To honour them with a determined predilection and confidence in
exclusion of your English subjects, who placed your family, and, in
spite of treachery and rebellion, have supported it upon the throne,
is a mistake too gross even for the unsuspecting generosity of youth.
The words 'upon the throne', stand unfortunately for the harmonious
effect of the balance of 'placed' and 'supported.'
This address to the king is almost faultless in composition, and has
been evidently tormented with the file. But it has fewer beauties than
any other long letter of Junius; and it is utterly undramatic. There is
nothing in the style, the transitions, or the sentiments, which
represents the passions of a man emboldening himself to address his
sovereign personally. Like a Presbyterian's prayer, you may substitute
almost every where the third for the second person without injury. The
newspaper, his closet, and his own person were alone present to the
author's intention and imagination. This makes the composition vapid. It
possesses an Isocratic correctness, when it should have had the force
and drama of an oration of Demosthenes. From this, however, the
paragraph beginning with the words "As to the Scotch," and also the last
two paragraphs must be honourably excepted. They are, perhaps, the
finest passages in the whole collection.
NOTES ON BARCLAY'S 'ARGENIS'. 1803. 
Heaven forbid that this work should not exist in its present form and
language! Yet I cannot avoid the wish that it had, during the reign of
James I., been moulded into an heroic poem in English octave stanza, or
epic blank verse;--which, however, at that time had not been invented,
and which, alas! still remains the sole property of the inventor, as if
the Muses had given him an unevadible patent for it. Of dramatic blank
verse we have many and various specimens;--for example, Shakspeare's as
compared with Massinger's, both excellent in their kind:--of lyric, and
of what may be called Orphic, or philosophic, blank verse, perfect
models may be found in Wordsworth: of colloquial blank verse there are
excellent, though not perfect, examples in Cowper;--but of epic blank
verse, since Milton, there is not one.
It absolutely distresses me when I reflect that this work, admired as it
has been by great men of all ages, and lately, I hear, by the poet
Cowper, should be only not unknown to general readers. It has been
translated into English two or three times--how, I know not, wretchedly,
I doubt not. It affords matter for thought that the last translation (or
rather, in all probability, miserable and faithless abridgment of some
former one) was given under another name. What a mournful proof of the
incelebrity of this great and amazing work among both the public and the
people! For as Wordsworth, the greater of the two great men of this
age,--(at least, except Davy and him, I have known, read of, heard of,
no others)--for as Wordsworth did me the honour of once observing to me,
the people and the public are two distinct classes, and, as things go,
the former is likely to retain a better taste, the less it is acted out
by the latter. Yet Telemachus is in every mouth, in every school-boy's
and school-girl's hand! It is awful to say of a work, like the Argenis,
the style and Latinity of which, judged (not according to classical
pedantry, which pronounces every sentence right which can be found in
any book prior to Boetius, however vicious the age, or affected the
author, and every sentence wrong, however natural and beautiful, which
has been of the author's own combination),--but, according to the
universal logic of thought as modified by feeling, is equal to that of
Tacitus in energy and genuine conciseness, and is as perspicuous as that
of Livy, whilst it is free from the affectations, obscurities, and lust
to surprise of the former, and seems a sort of antithesis to the
slowness and prolixity of the latter;--(this remark does not, however,
impeach even the classicality of the language, which, when the freedom
and originality, the easy motion and perfect command of the thoughts,
are considered, is truly wonderful:--of such a work it is awful to say,
that it would have been well if it had been written in English or
Italian verse! Yet the event seems to justify the notion. Alas! it is
now too late. What modern work, even of the size of the 'Paradise
Lost'--much less of the 'Faery Queene'--would be read in the present day,
or even bought or be likely to be bought, unless it were an instructive
work, as the phrase is, like Roscoe's quartos of Leo X., or entertaining
like Boswell's three of Dr. Johnson's conversations. It may be fairly
objected--what work of surpassing merit has given the proof?--Certainly,
none. Yet still there are ominous facts, sufficient, I fear, to afford a
certain prophecy of its reception, if such were produced.
[Footnote 1: Communicated by the Rev. Derwent Coleridge. Ed.]
NOTE IN CASAUBON'S 'PERSIUS'. 1807.
There are six hundred and sixteen pages in this volume, of which
twenty-two are text; and five hundred and ninety-four commentary and
introductory matter. Yet when I recollect, that I have the whole works
of Cicero, Livy, and Quinctilian, with many others,--the whole works of
each in a single volume, either thick quarto with thin paper and small
yet distinct print, or thick octavo or duodecimo of the same character,
and that they cost me in the proportion of a shilling to a guinea for
the same quantity of worse matter in modern books, or editions,--I a
poor man, yet one whom [Greek (transliterated): Biblion ktaeseos ek
paidariou deinos ekrataese pothos] feel the liveliest gratitude for the
age, which produced such editions, and for the education, which by
enabling me to understand and taste the Greek and Latin writers, has
thus put it in my power to collect on my own shelves, for my actual use,
almost all the best books in spite of my small income. Somewhat too I am
indebted to the ostentation of expense among the rich, which has
occasioned these cheap editions to become so disproportionately cheap.
NOTES ON CHAPMAN'S HOMER.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER SENT WITH THE VOLUME.  1807.
Chapman I have sent in order that you might read the 'Odyssey'; the
'Iliad' is fine, but less equal in the translation, as well as less
interesting in itself. What is stupidly said of Shakspeare, is really
true and appropriate of Chapman; mighty faults counterpoised by mighty
beauties. Excepting his quaint epithets which he affects to render
literally from the Greek, a language above all others blest in the happy
marriage of sweet words, and which in our language are mere printer's
compound epithets--such as quaffed divine
'joy-in-the-heart-of-man-infusing' wine, (the undermarked is to be one
word, because one sweet mellifluous word expresses it in
Homer);--excepting this, it has no look, no air, of a translation. It is
as truly an original poem as the 'Faery Queene';--it will give you small
idea of Homer, though a far truer one than Pope's epigrams, or Cowper's
cumbersome most anti-Homeric Miltonism. For Chapman writes and feels as
a poet,--as Homer might have written had he lived in England in the
reign of Queen Elizabeth. In short, it is an exquisite poem, in spite of
its frequent and perverse quaintnesses and harshnesses, which are,
however, amply repaid by almost unexampled sweetness and beauty of
language, all over spirit and feeling. In the main it is an English
heroic poem, the tale of which is borrowed from the Greek. The
dedication to the 'Iliad' is a noble copy of verses, especially those
sublime lines beginning,--
O!'tis wondrous much
(Though nothing prisde) that the right vertuous touch
Of a well written soule, to vertue moves.
Nor haue we soules to purpose, if their loves
Of fitting objects be not so inflam'd.
How much then, were this kingdome's maine soule maim'd,
To want this great inflamer of all powers
That move in humane soules! All realmes but yours,
Are honor'd with him; and hold blest that state
That have his workes to reade and contemplate.
In which, humanitie to her height is raisde;
Which all the world (yet, none enough) hath praisde.
Seas, earth, and heaven, he did in verse comprize;
Out sung the Muses, and did equalise
Their king Apollo; being so farre from cause
Of princes light thoughts, that their gravest lawes
May finde stuffe to be fashiond by his lines.
Through all the pompe of kingdomes still he shines
And graceth all his gracers. Then let lie
Your lutes, and viols, and more loftily
Make the heroiques of your Homer sung,
To drums and trumpets set his Angels tongue:
And with the princely sports of haukes you use,
Behold the kingly flight of his high Muse:
And see how like the Phoeenix she renues
Her age, and starrie feathers in your sunne;
Thousands of yeares attending; everie one
Blowing the holy fire, and throwing in
Their seasons, kingdomes, nations that have bin
Subverted in them; lawes, religions, all
Offerd to change, and greedie funerall;
Yet still your Homer lasting, living, raigning.--
and likewise the 1st, the 11th, and last but one, of the prefatory
sonnets to the 'Odyssey'. Could I have foreseen any other speedy
opportunity, I should have begged your acceptance of the volume in a
somewhat handsomer coat; but as it is, it will better represent the
sender,--to quote from myself--
A man disherited, in form and face,
By nature and mishap, of outward grace. 
Chapman in his moral heroic verse, as in this dedication and the
prefatory sonnets to his 'Odyssey', stands above Ben Jonson; there is more
dignity, more lustre, and equal strength; but not midway quite between
him and the sonnets of Milton. I do not know whether I give him the
higher praise, in that he reminds me of Ben Jonson with a sense of his
superior excellence, or that he brings Milton to memory notwithstanding
his inferiority. His moral poems are not quite out of books like
Jonson's, nor yet do the sentiments so wholly grow up out of his own
natural habit and grandeur of thought, as in Milton. The sentiments have
been attracted to him by a natural affinity of his intellect, and so
combined;-but Jonson has taken them by individual and successive acts of
All this and the preceding is well felt and vigorously, though harshly,
expressed, respecting sublime poetry 'in genere'; but in reading
Homer I look about me, and ask how does all this apply here. For surely
never was there plainer writing; there are a thousand charms of sun and
moonbeam, ripple, and wave, and stormy billow, but all on the surface.
Had Chapman read Proclus and Porphyry?--and did he really believe
them,--or even that they believed themselves? They felt the immense
power of a Bible, a Shaster, a Koran. There was none in Greece or Rome,
and they tried therefore by subtle allegorical accommodations to conjure
the poem of Homer into the [Greek (transliterated): biblon
theoparadoton] of Greek faith. 
Chapman's identification of his fate with Homer's, and his complete
forgetfulness of the distinction between Christianity and idolatry,
under the general feeling of some religion, is very interesting. It is
amusing to observe, how familiar Chapman's fancy has become with Homer,
his life and its circumstances, though the very existence of any such
individual, at l east with regard to the 'Iliad' and the 'Hymns', is more
than problematic. N. B. The rude engraving in the page was designed by
no vulgar hand. It is full of spirit and passion. 
I am so dull, that neither in the original nor in any translation could
I ever find any wit or wise purpose in this poem. The whole humour seems
to lie in the names. The frogs and mice are not frogs or mice, but men,
and yet they do nothing that conveys any satire. In the Greek there is
much beauty of language, but the joke is very flat. This is always the
case in rude ages;--their serious vein is inimitable,--their comic low
and low indeed. The psychological cause is easily stated, and copiously
[Footnote 1: Communicated through Mr. Wordsworth. Ed.]
[Footnote 2: Dedication to Prince Henry.]
[Footnote 3: 'Epistle Dedicatorie to the Odyssey'.]
[Footnote 4: 'Epistle Dedicatorie to the Batrachomyomachia'.]
[Footnote 5: End of the 'Batrachomyomachia'.]
NOTE IN BAXTER'S 'LIFE OF HIMSELF'. 1820.
Among the grounds for recommending the perusal of our elder
writers--Hooker--Taylor--Baxter--in short almost any of the folios
composed from Edward VI. to Charles II. I note:
1. The overcoming the habit of deriving your whole pleasure passively
from the book itself, which can only be effected by excitement of
curiosity or of some passion. Force yourself to reflect on what you read
paragraph by paragraph, and in a short time you will derive your
pleasure, an ample portion of it, at least, from the activity of your
own mind. All else is picture sunshine.
2. The conquest of party and sectarian prejudices, when you have on the
same table before you the works of a Hammond and a Baxter, and reflect
how many and how momentous their points of agreement, how few and almost
childish the differences, which estranged and irritated these good men.
Let us but imagine what their blessed spirits now feel at the retrospect
of their earthly frailties, and can we do other than strive to feel as
they now feel, not as they once felt? So will it be with the disputes
between good men of the present day; and if you have no other reason to
doubt your opponent's goodness than the point in dispute, think of
Baxter and Hammond, of Milton and Taylor, and let it be no reason at
3. It will secure you from the narrow idolatry of the present times and
fashions, and create the noblest kind of imaginative power in your soul,
that of living in past ages;--wholly devoid of which power, a man can
neither anticipate the future, nor ever live a truly human life, a life
of reason in the present.
4. In this particular work we may derive a most instructive lesson, that
in certain points, as of religion in relation to law, the 'medio
tutis--simus ibis', is inapplicable. There is no 'medium' possible; and
all the attempts as those of Baxter, though no more were required than
'I believe in God through Christ,' prove only the mildness of the
proposer's temper, but as a rule would be either equal to nothing, at
least exclude only the two or three in a century that make it a matter
of religion to declare themselves atheists, or else be just as fruitful
a rule for a persecutor as the most complete set of articles that could
be framed by a Spanish Inquisition. For to 'believe' must mean to
believe aright--and 'God' must mean the true God--and 'Christ' the
Christ in the sense and with the attributes understood by Christians who
are truly Christians. An established church with a liturgy is the
sufficient solution of the problem 'de jure magistratus'. Articles of
faith are in this point of view superfluous; for is it not too absurd
for a man to hesitate at subscribing his name to doctrines which yet in
the more awful duty of prayer and profession he dares affirm before his
Maker! They are therefore, in this sense, merely superfluous;--not worth
re-enacting, had they ever been done away with;--not worth removing now
that they exist.
5. The characteristic contra-distinction between the speculative
reasoners of the age before the Revolution, and those since, is
this:--the former cultivated metaphysics without, or neglecting
empirical, psychology:--the latter cultivate a mechanical psychology to
the neglect and contempt of metaphysics. Both, therefore, are almost
equi-distant from true philosophy. Hence the belief in ghosts, witches,
sensible replies to prayer, &c. in Baxter and in a hundred others. See
also Luther's 'Table Talk'.
6. The earlier part of this volume is interesting as materials for
medical history. The state of medical science in the reign of Charles I.
was almost incredibly low.
FRAGMENT OF AN ESSAY ON TASTE. 1810.
The same arguments that decide the question, whether taste has any fixed
principles, may probably lead to a determination of what those
principles are. First then, what is taste in its metaphorical sense, or,
which will be the easiest mode of arriving at the same solution, what is
there in the primary sense of the word, which may give to its
metaphorical meaning an import different from that of sight or hearing,
on the one hand, and of touch or smell on the other? And this question
seems the more natural, because in correct language we confine beauty,
the main subject of taste, to objects of sight and combinations of
sounds, and never, except sportively or by abuse of words, speak of a
beautiful flavour or a beautiful scent.
Now the analysis of our senses in the commonest books of anthropology
has drawn our attention to the distinction between the perfectly
organic, and the mixed senses;--the first presenting objects, as
distinct from the perception;--the last as blending the perception with
the sense of the object. Our eyes and ears--(I am not now considering
what is or is not the case really, but only that of which we are
regularly conscious as appearances,) our eyes most often appear to us
perfect organs of the sentient principle, and wholly in action, and our
hearing so much more so than the three other senses, and in all the
ordinary exertions of that sense, perhaps, equally so with the sight,
that all languages place them in one class, and express their different
modifications by nearly the same metaphors. The three remaining senses
appear in part passive, and combine with the perception of the outward
object a distinct sense of our own life. Taste, therefore, as opposed to
vision and sound, will teach us to expect in its metaphorical use a
certain reference of any given object to our own being, and not merely a
distinct notion of the object as in itself, or in its independent
properties. From the sense of touch, on the other hand, it is
distinguishable by adding to this reference to our vital being some
degree of enjoyment, or the contrary,--some perceptible impulse from
pleasure or pain to complacency or dislike. The sense of smell, indeed,
might perhaps have furnished a metaphor of the same import with that of
taste; but the latter was naturally chosen by the majority of civilized
nations on account of the greater frequency, importance, and dignity of
its employment or exertion in human nature.
By taste, therefore, as applied to the fine arts, we must be supposed to
mean an intellectual perception of any object blended with a distinct
reference to our own sensibility of pain or pleasure, or, 'vice
versa', a sense of enjoyment or dislike co-instantaneously combined
with, and appearing to proceed from, some intellectual perception of the
object;--intellectual perception, I say; for otherwise it would be a
definition of taste in its primary rather than in its metaphorical
sense. Briefly, taste is a metaphor taken from one of our mixed senses,
and applied to objects of the more purely organic senses, and of our
moral sense, when we would imply the co-existence of immediate personal
dislike or complacency. In this definition of taste, therefore, is
involved the definition of fine arts, namely, as being such the chief
and discriminative purpose of which it is to gratify the taste,--that
is, not merely to connect, but to combine and unite, a sense of
immediate pleasure in ourselves, with the perception of external
The great question, therefore, whether taste in any one of the fine arts
has any fixed principle or ideal, will find its solution in the
ascertainment of two facts:--first, whether in every determination of
the taste concerning any work of the fine arts, the individual does not,
with or even against the approbation of his general judgment,
involuntarily claim that all other minds ought to think and feel the
same; whether the common expressions, 'I dare say I may be wrong, but
that is my particular taste;'--are uttered as an offering of courtesy,
as a sacrifice to the undoubted fact of our individual fallibility, or
are spoken with perfect sincerity, not only of the reason but of the
whole feeling, with the same entireness of mind and heart, with which we
concede a right to every person to differ from another in his preference
of bodily tastes and flavours. If we should find ourselves compelled to
deny this, and to admit that, notwithstanding the consciousness of our
liability to error, and in spite of all those many individual
experiences which may have strengthened the consciousness, each man does
at the moment so far legislate for all men, as to believe of necessity
that he is either right or wrong, and that if it be right for him, it is
universally right,--we must then proceed to ascertain:--secondly,
whether the source of these phenomena is at all to be found in those
parts of our nature, in which each intellect is representative of
all,--and whether wholly, or partially. No person of common reflection
demands even in feeling, that what tastes pleasant to him ought to
produce the same effect on all living beings; but every man does and
must expect and demand the universal acquiescence of all intelligent
beings in every conviction of his understanding. ...
FRAGMENT OF AN ESSAY ON BEAUTY. 1818.
The only necessary, but this the absolutely necessary, pre-requisite to
a full insight into the grounds of the beauty in the objects of sight,
is--the directing of the attention to the action of those thoughts in
our own mind which are not consciously distinguished. Every man may
understand this, if he will but recall the state of his feelings in
endeavouring to recollect a name, which he is quite sure that he
remembers, though he cannot force it back into consciousness. This
region of unconscious thoughts, oftentimes the more working the more
indistinct they are, may, in reference to this subject, be conceived as
forming an ascending scale from the most universal associations of
motion with the functions and passions of life,--as when, on passing out
of a crowded city into the fields on a day in June, we describe the
grass and king-cups as nodding their heads and dancing in the
breeze,--up to the half perceived, yet not fixable, resemblance of a
form to some particular object of a diverse class, which resemblance we
need only increase but a little, to destroy, or at least injure, its
beauty-enhancing effect, and to make it a fantastic intrusion of the
accidental and the arbitrary, and consequently a disturbance of the
beautiful. This might be abundantly exemplified and illustrated from the
paintings of Salvator Rosa.
I am now using the term beauty in its most comprehensive sense, as
including expression and artistic interest,--that is, I consider not
only the living balance, but likewise all the accompaniments that even
by disturbing are necessary to the renewal and continuance of the
balance. And in this sense I proceed to show, that the beautiful in the
object may be referred to two elements,--lines and colours; the first
belonging to the shapely ('forma, formalis, formosus'), and in
this, to the law, and the reason; and the second, to the lively, the
free, the spontaneous, and the self-justifying. As to lines, the
rectilineal are in themselves the lifeless, the determined 'ab
extra', but still in immediate union with the cycloidal, which are
expressive of function. The curve line is a modification of the force
from without by the force from within, or the spontaneous. These are not
arbitrary symbols, but the language of nature, universal and intuitive,
by virtue of the law by which man is impelled to explain visible motions
by imaginary causative powers analogous to his own acts, as the Dryads,
Hamadryads, Naiads, &c.
The better way of applying these principles will be by a brief and rapid
sketch of the history of the fine arts,--in which it will be found, that
the beautiful in nature has been appropriated to the works of man, just
in proportion as the state of the mind in the artists themselves
approached to the subjective beauty. Determine what predominance in the
minds of the men is preventive of the living balance of excited
faculties, and you will discover the exact counterpart in the outward
products. Egypt is an illustration of this. Shapeliness is intellect
without freedom; but colours are significant. The introduction of the
arch is not less an epoch in the fine than in the useful arts.
Order is beautiful arrangement without any purpose 'ad
extra';--therefore there is a beauty of order, or order may be
contemplated exclusively as beauty.
The form given in every empirical intuition,--the stuff, that is, the
quality of the stuff, determines the agreeable: but when a thing excites
us to receive it in such and such a mould, so that its exact
correspondence to that mould is what occupies the mind,--this is taste
or the sense of beauty. Whether dishes full of painted wood or exquisite
viands were laid out on a table in the same arrangement, would be
indifferent to the taste, as in ladies' patterns; but surely the one is
far more agreeable than the other. Hence observe the disinterestedness
of all taste; and hence also a sensual perfection with intellect is
occasionally possible without moral feeling. So it may be in music and
painting, but not in poetry. How far it is a real preference of the
refined to the gross pleasures, is another question, upon the
supposition that pleasure, in some form or other, is that alone which
determines men to the objects of the former;--whether experience does
not show that if the latter were equally in our power, occasioned no
more trouble to enjoy, and caused no more exhaustion of the power of
enjoying them by the enjoyment itself, we should in real practice prefer
the grosser pleasure. It is not, therefore, any excellence in the
quality of the refined pleasures themselves, but the advantages and
facilities in the means of enjoying them, that give them the
This is, of course, on the supposition of the absence of all moral
feeling. Suppose its presence, and then there will accrue an excellence
even to the quality of the pleasures themselves; not only, however, of
the refined, but also of the grosser kinds,--inasmuch as a larger sweep
of thoughts will be associated with each enjoyment, and with each
thought will be associated a number of sensations; and so, consequently,
each pleasure will become more the pleasure of the whole being. This is
one of the earthly rewards of our being what we ought to be, but which
would be annihilated, if we attempted to be it for the sake of this
increased enjoyment. Indeed it is a contradiction to suppose it. Yet
this is the common 'argumentum in circulo', in which the
eudsemonists flee and pursue. ...
POEMS AND POETICAL FRAGMENTS.
'Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus'. CATULLUS.
My Lesbia, let us love and live,
And to the winds, my Lesbia, give
Each cold restraint, each boding fear
Of age, and all its saws severe!
Yon sun now posting to the main
Will set,--but 'tis to rise again;--
But we, when once our little light
Is set, must sleep in endless night.
Then come, with whom alone I'll live,
A thousand kisses take and give!
Another thousand!--to the store
Add hundreds--then a thousand more!
And when they to a million mount,
Let confusion take the account,--
That you, the number never knowing,
May continue still bestowing--
That I for joys may never pine,
Which never can again be mine! 
'Lugete, O Veneres, Cupidinesque.' CATULLUS.
Pity, mourn in plaintive tone
The lovely starling dead and gone!
Weep, ye Loves! and Venus, weep
The lovely starling fall'n asleep!
Venus see with tearful eyes--
In her lap the starling lies,
While the Loves all in a ring
Softly stroke the stiffen'd wing.
"The hour-bell sounds, and I must go;
Death waits--again I hear him calling;--
No cowardly desires have I,
Nor will I shun his face appalling.
I die in faith and honour rich--
But ah! I leave behind my treasure
In widowhood and lonely pain;--
To live were surely then a pleasure!
"My lifeless eyes upon thy face
Shall never open more to-morrow;
To-morrow shall thy beauteous eyes
Be closed to love, and drown'd in sorrow;
To-morrow death shall freeze this hand,
And on thy breast, my wedded treasure,
I never, never more shall live;--
Alas! I quit a life of pleasure."
"Yet art thou happier far than she
Who feels the widow's love for thee!
For while her days are days of weeping,
Thou, in peace, in silence sleeping,
In some still world, unknown, remote,
The mighty parent's care hast found,
Without whose tender guardian thought
No sparrow falleth to the ground."
[Footnote 1: This and the following poems and fragments, with the
exception of those marked with an asterisk, were communicated by Mr.
THE STRIPLING'S WAR SONG.
IMITATED FROM STOLBERG.
My noble old warrior! this heart has beat high,
Since you told of the deeds that our countrymen wrought;
Ah! give me the sabre which hung by thy thigh,
And I too will fight as my forefathers fought!
O, despise not my youth! for my spirit is steel'd,
And I know there is strength in the grasp of my hand;
Yea, as firm as thyself would I move to the field,
And as proudly would die for my dear father-land.
In the sports of my childhood I mimick'd the fight,--
The shrill of a trumpet suspended my breath;
And my fancy still wander'd by day and by night
Amid tumult and perils,'mid conquest and death.
My own eager shout in the heat of my trance,
How oft it awakes me from dreams full of glory,
When I meant to have leap'd on the hero of France,
And have dash'd him to earth pale and deathless and gory!
As late through the city with bannerets streaming,
And the music of trumpets the warriors flew by,--
With helmet and scymetar naked and gleaming
On their proud trampling thunder-hoof'd steeds did they fly,--
I sped to yon heath which is lonely and bare--
For each nerve was unquiet, each pulse in alarm,--
I hurl'd my mock lance through the objectless air,
And in open-eyed dream prov'd the strength of my arm.
Yes, noble old warrior! this heart has beat high,
Since you told of thedeeds that our countrymen wrought;
Ah! give me the falchion that hung by thy thigh,
And I too will fight as my forefathers fought!
[*] His own fair countenance, his kingly forehead,
His tender smiles, love's day-dawn on his lips,
The sense, and spirit, and the light divine,
At the same moment in his steadfast eye
Were virtue's native crest, th' immortal soul's
Unconscious meek self-heraldry,--to man
Genial, and pleasant to his guardian angel.
He suffer'd, nor complain'd;--tho' oft with tears
He mourn'd th' oppression of his helpless brethren,--
Yea, with a deeper and yet holier grief
Mourn'd for the oppressor. In those sabbath hours
His solemn grief, like the slow cloud at sunset,
Was but the veil of purest meditation
Pierced thro' and saturate with the rays of mind.
'Twas sweet to know it only possible!
Some wishes cross'd my mind and dimly cheer'd it,
And one or two poor melancholy pleasures,
Each in the pale unwarming light of hope
Silvering its flimsy wing, flew silent by--
Moths in the moonbeam!--
--Behind the thin
Grey cloud that cover'd, but not hid, the sky,
The round full moon look'd small.
The subtle snow in every passing breeze
Rose curling from the grove like shafts of smoke.
--On the broad mountain top
The neighing wild colt races with the wind
O'er fern and heath-flowers.
--Like a mighty giantess
Seized in sore travail and prodigious birth,
Sick nature struggled: long and strange her pangs,
Her groans were horrible;--but O, most fair
The twins she bore, Equality and Peace.
--Terrible and loud
As the strong voice that from the thunder-cloud
Speaks to the startled midnight.
Such fierce vivacity as fires the eye
Of genius fancy-craz'd.
The mild despairing of a heart resign'd.
FOR THE HYMN ON THE SUN.
--The sun (for now his orb
'Gan slowly sink)--
Shot half his rays aslant the heath, whose flow'rs
Purpled the mountain's broad and level top.
Rich was his bed of clouds, and wide beneath
FOR THE HYMN ON THE MOON.
In a cave in the mountains of Cashmeer there is an image of ice, which
makes its appearance thus: Two days before the new moon there appears a
bubble of ice, which increases in size every day till the fifteenth, by
which time it is an ell or more in height;--then as the moon wanes, the
image decreases till it vanishes away.
In darkness I remain'd;-the neighb'ring clock
Told me that now the rising sun at dawn
Shone lovely on my garden.
These be staggerers that, made drunk by power,
Forget thirst's eager promise, and presume,
Dark dreamers! that the world forgets it too!
Unfaithful to its seeming!
Old age, 'the shape and messenger of death,'
His wither'd fist still knocking at death's door.
--God no distance knows
All of the whole possessing.
With skill that never alchemist yet told,
Made drossy lead as ductile as pure gold.
Guess at the wound and heal with secret hand.
The broad-breasted rock
Glasses his rugged forehead in the sea.
I mix in life, and labour to seem free,
With common persons pleas'd and common things,
While every thought and action tends to thee,
And every impulse from thy influence springs.
FAREWELL TO LOVE.
[*] Farewell, sweet Love! yet blame you not my truth;
More fondly ne'er did mother eye her child
Than I your form: your's were my hopes of youth,
And as you shaped my thoughts, I sigh'd or smil'd.
While most were wooing wealth, or gaily swerving
To pleasure's secret haunt, and some apart
Stood strong in pride, self-conscious of deserving,
To you I gave my whole weak wishing heart;
And when I met the maid that realized
Your fair creations, and had won her kindness,
Say but for her if aught on earth I prized!
Your dreams alone I dreamt and caught your blindness.
O grief!--but farewell, Love! I will go play me
With thoughts that please me less, and less betray me.
[*] Within these circling hollies, woodbine-clad--
Beneath this small blue roof of vernal sky--
How warm, how still! Tho' tears should dim mine eye,
Yet will my heart for days continue glad,
For here, my love, thou art, and here am I!
Each crime that once estranges from the virtues
Doth make the memory of their features daily
More dim and vague, till each coarse counterfeit
Can have the passport to our confidence
Sign'd by ourselves. And fitly are they punish'd,
Who prize and seek the honest man but as
A safer lock to guard dishonest treasures.
Grant me a patron, gracious Heaven! whene'er
My unwash'd follies call for penance drear:
But when more hideous guilt this heart infects,
Instead of fiery coals upon my pate,
O let a titled patron be my fate;--
That fierce compendium of Egyptian pests!
Right reverend dean, right honourable squire,
Lord, marquis, earl, duke, prince,--or if aught higher,
However proudly nicknamed, he shall be Anathema Maranatha to me!
A SOBER STATEMENT OF HUMAN LIFE,
OR THE TRUE MEDIUM.
[*] A chance may win what by mischance was lost;
The net that holds not great, takes little fish:
In somethings all, in all things none are crost;
Few all they need, but none have all they wish:
Unmingled joys to no one here befall;
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all!
THE FRENCH DECADE.
I have nothing to say in defence of the French revolutionists, as far as
they are personally concerned in this substitution of every tenth for
the seventh day as a day of rest. It was not only a senseless outrage on
an ancient observance, around which a thousand good and gentle feelings
had clustered; it not only tended to weaken the bond of brotherhood
between France and the other members of Christendom; but it was
dishonest, and robbed the labourer of fifteen days of restorative and
humanizing repose in every year, and extended the wrong to all the
friends and fellow labourers of man in the brute creation. Yet when I
hear Protestants, and even those of the Lutheran persuasion, and members
of the church of England, inveigh against this change as a blasphemous
contempt of the fourth commandment, I pause, and before I can assent to
the verdict of condemnation, I must prepare my mind to include in the
same sentence, at least as far as theory goes, the names of several
among the most revered reformers of Christianity. Without referring to
Luther, I will begin with Master Frith, a founder and martyr of the
church of England, having witnessed his faith amid the flames in the
year 1533. This meek and enlightened, no less than zealous and orthodox,
divine, in his "Declaration of Baptism" thus expresses himself:
Our forefathers, which were in the beginning of the Church, did
abrogate the sabbath, to the intent that men might have an example of
Christian liberty. Howbeit, because it was necessary that a day should
be reserved in which the people should come together to hear the word
of God, they ordained instead of the Sabbath, which was Saturday, the
next following which is Sunday. And although they might have kept the
Saturday with the Jew as a thing indifferent, yet they did much better.
Some three years after the martyrdom of Frith, in 1536, being the 27th
of Henry VIII. suffered Master Tindal in the same glorious cause, and
this illustrious martyr and translator of the word of life, likewise, in
his "Answer to Sir Thomas More," hath similarly resolved this point:
As for the Sabbath, we be lords of the Sabbath, and may yet change it
into Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or we may make every
tenth day holy day only, if we see cause why. Neither was there any
cause to change it from the Saturday, save only to put a difference
between us and the Jews; neither need we any holy day at all, if the
people might be taught without it.
This great man believed that if Christian nations should ever become
Christians indeed, there would every day be so many hours taken from the
labour for the perishable body, to the service of the souls and the
understandings of mankind, both masters and servants, as to supersede
the necessity of a particular day. At present our Sunday may be
considered as so much Holy Land, rescued from the sea of oppression and
vain luxury, and embanked against the fury of their billows.
RIDE AND TIE.
"On a scheme of perfect retribution in the moral world"--observed
Empeiristes, and paused to look at, and wipe his spectacles.
"Frogs," interposed Musaello, "must have been experimental philosophers,
and experimental philosophers must all transmigrate into frogs."
"The scheme will not be yet perfect," added Gelon, "unless our friend
Empeiristes, is specially privileged to become an elect frog twenty
times successively, before he reascends into a galvanic philosopher."
"Well, well," replied Empeiristes, with a benignant smile, "I give my
consent, if only our little Mary's fits do not recur."
Little Mary was Gelon's only child, and the darling and god-daughter of
Empeiristes. By the application of galvanic influence Empeiristes had
removed a nervous affection of her right leg, accompanied with
symptomatic epilepsy. The tear started in Gelon's eye, and he pressed
the hand of his friend, while Musaello, half suppressing, half
indulging, a similar sense of shame, sportively exclaimed, "Hang it,
Gelon! somehow or other these philosopher fellows always have the better
of us wits, in the long run!"
The writings of Bishop Jeremy Taylor are a perpetual feast to me. His
hospitable board groans under the weight and multitude of viands. Yet I
seldom rise from the perusal of his works without repeating or
recollecting the excellent observation of Minucius Felix. 'Fabulas et
errores ab imperitis parentibus discimus; et quod est gravius, ipsis
studiis et disciplinis elaboramus'.
Many of our modern criticisms on the works of our elder writers remind
me of the connoisseur, who, taking up a small cabinet picture, railed
most eloquently at the absurd caprice of the artist in painting a horse
sprawling. "Excuse me, Sir," replied the owner of the piece, "you hold
it the wrong way: it is a horse galloping."
Our statesmen, who survey with jealous dread all plans for the education
of the lower orders, may be thought to proceed on the system of
antagonist muscles; and in the belief, that the closer a nation shuts
its eyes, the wider it will open its hands. Or do they act on the
principle, that the 'status belli' is the natural relation between
the people and the government, and that it is prudent to secure the
result of the contest by gouging the adversary in the first instance?
Alas! the policy of the maxim is on a level with its honesty. The
Philistines had put out the eyes of Samson, and thus, as they thought,
fitted him to drudge and grind
Among the slaves and asses, his comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service:--
But his darkness added to his fury without diminishing his strength, and
the very pillars of the temple of oppression--
With horrible convulsion, to and fro,
He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
The whole roof after them with burst of thunder,
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath;
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, and priests,
Their choice nobility.
The error might be less unpardonable with a statesman of the
continent;--but with Englishmen, who have Ireland in one direction, and
Scotland in another; the one in ignorance, sloth, and rebellion,--in the
other general information, industry, and loyalty, verily it is not error
merely, but infatuation.
Who is ignorant of Homer's [Greek (transliterated): Paelion
einosiphullon] Yet in some Greek manuscript hexameters I have met with
a compound epithet, which may compare with it for the prize of
excellence in flashing on the mental eye a complete image. It is an
epithet of the brutified archangel, and forms the latter half of the
[Greek: Kerkokeronucha Satan]
Ye youthful bards! compare this word with its literal translation,
"tail-horn-hoofed Satan," and be shy of compound epithets, the
components of which are indebted for their union exclusively to the
printer's hyphen. Henry More, indeed, would have naturalized the word
without hesitation, and 'cercoceronychous' would have shared the
astonishment of the English reader in the glossary to his 'Song of the
Soul' with Achronycul, Anaisthaesie, &c. &c.
The state, with respect to the different sects of religion under its
protection, should resemble a well drawn portrait. Let there be half a
score individuals looking at it, every one sees its eyes and its
benignant smile directed towards himself.
The framer of preventive laws, no less than private tutors and
school-masters, should remember, that the readiest way to make either
mind or body grow awry, is by lacing it too tight.
It would have proved a striking part of a vision presented to Adam the
day after the death of Abel, to have brought before his eyes half a
million of men crowded together in the space of a square mile. When the
first father had exhausted his wonder on the multitude of his offspring,
he would then naturally inquire of his angelic instructor, for what
purposes so vast a multitude had assembled? what is the common end?
Alas! to murder each other,--all Cains, and yet no Abels!
Parodies on new poems are read as satires; on old ones,--the soliloquy
of Hamlet for instance--as compliments. A man of genius may securely
laugh at a mode of attack by which his reviler, in half a century or
less, becomes his encomiast.
Among the extravagancies of faith which have characterized many infidel
writers, who would swallow a whale to avoid believing that a whale
swallowed Jonas,--a high rank should be given to Dupuis, who, at the
commencement of the French Revolution, published a work in twelve
volumes, octavo, in order to prove that Jesus Christ was the sun, and
all Christians, worshippers of Mithra. His arguments, if arguments they
can be called, consist chiefly of metaphors quoted from the Fathers.
What irresistible conviction would not the following passage from
South's sermons (vol. v. p. 165.) have flashed on his fancy, had it
occurred in the writings of Origen or Tertullian! and how complete a
confutation of all his grounds does not the passage afford to those
humble souls, who, gifted with common sense alone, can boast of no
additional light received through a crack in their upper apartments:--
Christ the great sun of righteousness and saviour of the world, having
by a glorious rising, after a red and bloody setting, proclaimed his
deity to men and angels; and by a complete triumph over the two grand
enemies of mankind, sin and death, set up the everlasting gospel in
the room of all false religions, has now changed the Persian
superstition into the Christian doctrine, and without the least
approach to the idolatry of the former, made it henceforward the duty
of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, to worship the rising sun.
This one passage outblazes the whole host of Dupuis' evidences and
extracts. In the same sermon, the reader will meet with Hume's argument
against miracles anticipated, and put in Thomas's mouth.
ORIGIN OF THE WORSHIP OF HYMEN.
The origin of the worship of Hymen is thus related by Lactantius. The
story would furnish matter for an excellent pantomime. Hymen was a
beautiful youth of Athens, who for the love of a young virgin disguised
himself, and assisted at the Eleusinian rites: and at this time he,
together with his beloved, and divers other young ladies of that city,
was surprized and carried off by pirates, who supposing him to be what
he appeared, lodged him with his mistress. In the dead of the night when
the robbers were all asleep, he arose and cut their throats. Thence
making hasty way back to Athens, he bargained with the parents that he
would restore to them their daughter and all her companions, if they
would consent to her marriage with him. They did so, and this marriage
proving remarkably happy, it became the custom to invoke the name of
Hymen at all nuptials.
It is hard and uncandid to censure the great reformers in philosophy and
religion for their egotism and boastfulness. It is scarcely possible for
a man to meet with continued personal abuse, on account of his superior
talents, without associating more and more the sense of the value of his
discoveries or detections with his own person. The necessity of
repelling unjust contempt, forces the most modest man into a feeling of
pride and self-consciousness. How can a tall man help thinking of his
size, when dwarfs are constantly on tiptoe beside him?--Paracelsus was a
braggart and a quack; so was Cardan; but it was their merits, and not
their follies, which drew upon them that torrent of detraction and
calumny, which compelled them so frequently to think and write
concerning themselves, that at length it became a habit to do so. Wolff
too, though not a boaster, was yet persecuted into a habit of egotism
both in his prefaces and in his ordinary conversation, and the same
holds good of the founder of the Brunonian system, and of his great
namesake Giordano Bruno. The more decorous manners of the present age
have attached a disproportionate opprobrium to this foible, and many
therefore abstain with cautious prudence from all displays of what they
feel. Nay, some do actually flatter themselves, that they abhor all
egotism, and never betray it either in their writings or discourse. But
watch these men narrowly; and in the greater number of cases you will
find their thoughts, feelings, and mode of expression, saturated with
the passion of contempt, which is the concentrated vinegar of egotism.
Your very humble men in company, if they produce any thing, are in that
thing of the most exquisite irritability and vanity.
When a man is attempting to describe another person's character, he may
be right or he may be wrong; but in one thing he will always succeed,
that is, in describing himself. If, for example, he expresses simple
approbation, he praises from a consciousness of possessing similar
qualities;--if he approves with admiration, it is from a consciousness
of deficiency. A. "Ay! he is a sober man." B. "Ah! Sir, what a blessing
is sobriety!" Here A. is a man conscious of sobriety, who egotizes in
'tuism';--B. is one who, feeling the ill effects of a contrary
habit, contemplates sobriety with blameless envy. Again:--A. "Yes, he is
a warm man, a moneyed fellow; you may rely upon him." B. "Yes, yes, Sir,
no wonder! he has the blessing of being well in the world." This
reflection might be introduced in defence of plaintive egotism, and by
way of preface to an examination of all the charges against it, and from
what feelings they proceed. 1800.
Contempt is egotism in ill humour. Appetite without moral affection,
social sympathy, and even without passion and imagination--(in plain
English, mere lust,)--is the basest form of egotism,--and being
'infra' human, or below humanity, should be pronounced with the
harsh breathing, as 'he-goat-ism'. 1820.
[Footnote 1: From Mr. Gulch's commonplace book. Ed]
CAP OF LIBERTY.
Those who hoped proudly of human nature, and admitted no distinction
between Christians and Frenchmen, regarded the first constitution as a
colossal statue of Corinthian brass, formed by the fusion and commixture
of all metals in the conflagration of the state. But there is a common
fungus, which so exactly represents the pole and cap of liberty, that it
seems offered by nature herself as the appropriate emblem of Gallic
republicanism,--mushroom patriots, with a mushroom cap of liberty.
'Novi ego aliquem qui dormitabundus aliquando pulsari horam quartam
audiverit, et sic numeravit, una, una, una, una; ac tum prae rei
absurditate, quam anima concipiebat, exclamavit, Nae! delirat
horologium! Quater pulsavit horam unam'.
I knew a person, who, during imperfect sleep, or dozing, as we say,
listened to the clock as it was striking four, and as it struck, he
counted the four, one, one, one, one; and then exclaimed, "Why, the
clock is out of its wits; it has struck one four times over!"
This is a good exemplification of the nature of 'Bulls', which will be
found always to contain in them a confusion of what the schoolmen would
have called--objectivity with subjectivity;--in plain English, the
impression of a thing as it exists in itself, and extrinsically, with
the image which the mind abstracts from the impression. Thus, number, or
the total of a series, is a generalization of the mind, an 'ens
rationis' not an 'ens reale'. I have read many attempts at a definition
of a 'Bull', and lately in the Edinburgh Review; but it then appeared to
me that the definers had fallen into the same fault with Miss Edgeworth,
in her delightful essay on 'Bulls', and given the definition of the
genus, 'Blunder', for that of the particular species. I will venture,
therefore, to propose the following: a 'Bull' consists in a mental
juxta-position of incongruous images or thoughts with the sensation, but
without the sense, of connection. The psychological conditions of the
possibility of a 'Bull', it would not be difficult to determine; but it
would require a larger space than can be afforded here, at least more
attention than my readers would be likely to afford.
There is a sort of spurious 'Bull' which consists wholly in mistake of
language, and which the closest thinker may make, if speaking in a
language of which he is not master.
It is impossible to become either an eminently great, or truly pious
man, without the courage to remain ignorant of many things. This
important truth is most happily expressed by the elder Scaliger in
prose, and by the younger in verse; the latter extract has an additional
claim from the exquisite terseness of its diction, and the purity of its
Latinity. I particularly recommend its perusal to the commentators on
'Quare ulterior disquisitio morosi atque satagentis animi est; humanae
enim sapientiae pars est, quaedam aequo animo nescire velle'.
J. C, Scalig. Ex. 307. s. 29.
'Ne curiosus quaere causas omnium,
Quaecunque libris vis prophetarum indidit,
Afflata caelo, plena veraci Deo;
Nec operta sacri supparo silentii
Irrumpere aude; sed prudenter praeteri!
Nescire velle quae magister optimus
Docere non vult, erudita inscitia est'.
Triumphant generals in Rome wore rouge. The ladies of France, and their
fair sisters and imitators in Britain, conceive themselves always in the
chair of triumph, and of course entitled to the same distinction. The
custom originated, perhaps, in the humility of the conquerors that they
might seem to blush continually at their own praises. Mr. Gilpin
frequently speaks of a "picturesque eye:" with something less of
solecism, I may affirm that our fair ever blushing triumphants have
secured to themselves the charm of picturesque cheeks, every face being
its own portrait.
[Greek: Epea pteroenta.] HASTY WORDS.
I crave mercy (at least of my contemporaries: for if these Omniana
should outlive the present generation, the opinion will not need it) but
I could not help writing in the blank page of a very celebrated work 
the following passage from Picus Mirandula:-
'Movent mihi stomachum grammatistae quidam, qui cum duas tenuerint
vocabulorum origines, ita se ostentant, ita venditant, ita
circumferunt jactabundi, ut prae ipsis pro nihilo habendos philosophos
arbitrentur'. Epist. ad Hermol. Barb.
[Footnote 1: Diversions of Purley. Ed.]
MOTIVES AND IMPULSES.
It is a matter of infinite difficulty, but fortunately of comparative
indifference to determine what a man's motive may have been for this or
that particular action. Rather seek to learn what his objects in general
are. What does he habitually wish, habitually pursue? and thence deduce
his impulses which are commonly the true efficient causes of men's
conduct; and without which the motive itself would not have become a
motive. Let a haunch of venison represent the motive, and the keen
appetite of health, and exercise the impulse: then place the same or
some more favourite dish before the same man, sick, dyspeptic, and
stomach-worn, and we may then weigh the comparative influences of
motives and impulses. Without the perception of this truth, it is
impossible to understand the character of lago, who is represented as
now assigning one, and then another, and again a third motive for his
conduct, all alike the mere fictions of his own restless nature,
distempered by a keen sense of his intellectual superiority, and haunted
by the love of exerting power on those especially who are his superiors
in practical and moral excellence. Yet how many among our modern critics
have attributed to the profound author this the appropriate
inconsistency of the character itself.
A second illustration:--Did Curio, the 'quondam' patriot, reformer,
and semi-revolutionist, abjure his opinion, and yell the foremost in the
hunt of persecution against his old friends and fellow-philosophists,
with a cold clear predetermination, formed at one moment, of making
L5000 a year by his apostacy?--I neither know nor care. Probably not.
But this I know, that to be thought a man of consequence by his
contemporaries, to be admitted into the society of his superiors in
artificial rank, to excite the admiration of lords, to live in splendour
and sensual luxury, have been the objects of his habitual wishes. A
flash of lightning has turned at once the polarity of the compass
needle: and so, perhaps, now and then, but as rarely, a violent motive
may revolutionize a man's opinions and professions. But more frequently
his honesty dies away imperceptibly from evening into twilight, and from
twilight into utter darkness. He turns hypocrite so gradually, and by
such tiny atoms of motion, that by the time he has arrived at a given
point, he forgets his own hypocrisy in the imperceptible degrees of his
conversion. The difference between such a man and a bolder liar, is
merely that between the hour hand, and that which tells the seconds, on
a watch. Of the former you can see only the past motion; of the latter
both the past motion and the present moving. Yet there is, perhaps, more
hope of the latter rogue: for he has lied to mankind only and not to
himself--the former lies to his own heart, as well as to the public.
Talk to a blind man--he knows he wants the sense of sight, and willingly
makes the proper allowances. But there are certain internal senses,
which a man may want, and yet be wholly ignorant that he wants them. It
is most unpleasant to converse with such persons on subjects of taste,
philosophy, or religion. Of course there is no reasoning with them: for
they do not possess the facts, on which the reasoning must be grounded.
Nothing is possible, but a naked dissent, which implies a sort of
unsocial contempt; or, what a man of kind dispositions is very likely to
fall into, a heartless tacit acquiescence, which borders too nearly on
THE VICES OF SLAVES NO EXCUSE FOR SLAVERY.
It often happens, that the slave himself has neither the power nor the
wish to be free. He is then brutified; but this apathy is the dire
effect of slavery, and so far from being a justifying cause, that it
contains the grounds of its bitterest condemnation. The Carlovingian
race bred up the Merovingi as beasts; and then assigned their
unworthiness as the satisfactory reason for their dethronement. Alas!
the human being is more easily weaned from the habit of commanding than
from that of abject obedience. The slave loses his soul when he loses
his master; even as the dog that has lost himself in the street, howls
and whines till he has found the house again, where he had been kicked
and cudgelled, and half starved to boot. As we, however, or our
ancestors must have inoculated our fellow-creature with this wasting
disease of the soul, it becomes our duty to cure him; and though we
cannot immediately make him free, yet we can, and ought to, put him in
the way of becoming so at some future time, if not in his own person,
yet in that of his children. The French, you will say, are not capable
of freedom. Grant this;--but does this fact justify the ungrateful
traitor, whose every measure has been to make them still more incapable
CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD.
The ancients attributed to the blood the same motion of ascent and
descent which really takes place in the sap of trees. Servetus
discovered the minor circulation from the heart to the lungs. Do not the
following passages of Giordano Bruno (published in 1591) seem to imply
more? I put the question, 'pauperis forma', with unfeigned
'"De Immenso et Innumerabili,"' lib. vi. cap. 8.
'Ut in nostro corpore sanguis per totum circumcursat et recursat, sic
in toto mundo, astro, tellure.
Quare non aliter quam nostro in corpore sanguis Hinc meat, hinc
remeat, neque ad inferiora fluit vi Majore, ad supera a pedibus quam
and still more plainly, in the ninth chapter of the same book,
'Quid esset Quodam ni gyro naturae cuncta redirent Ortus ad proprios
rursum; si sorbeat omnes Pontus aquas, totum non restituatque perenni
Ordine; qua possit rerum consistere vita? Tanquam si totus concurrat
sanguis in unam, In qua consistat, partem, nec prima revisat Ordia, et
antiquos cursus non inde resumat.'
It is affirmed in the "Supplement to the Scotch Encyclopaedia
Britannica," that Des Cartes was the first who in defiance of Aristotle
and the Schools, attributed infinity to the universe. The very title of
Bruno's poem proves, that this honour belongs to him.
Feyjoo lays claim to a knowledge of the circulation of the blood for
Francisco de la Reyna, a farrier, who published a work upon his own art
at Burgos, in 1564. The passage which he quotes is perfectly clear.
'Por manera, que la sangre anda en torno, y en rueda por todos los
miembros, excluye toda duda.'
Whether Reyna himself claimed any
discovery, Feyjoo does not mention;--but, these words seem to refer to
some preceding demonstration of the fact. I am inclined to think that
this, like many other things, was known before it was discovered; just
as the preventive powers of the vaccine disease, the existence of
adipocire in graves, and certain principles in grammar and in
population, upon which bulky books have been written and great
reputations raised in our days.
PERITURAE PARCERE CHARTAE.
What scholar but must at times have a feeling of splenetic regret, when
he looks at the list of novels, in two, three, or four volumes each,
published monthly by Messrs. Lane, &c. and then reflects that there are
valuable works of Cudworth, prepared by himself for the press, yet still
unpublished by the University which possesses them, and which ought to
glory in the name of their great author! and that there is extant in
manuscript a folio volume of unprinted sermons by Jeremy Taylor. Surely,
surely, the patronage of our many literary societies might be employed
more beneficially to the literature and to the actual 'literati' of the
country, if they would publish the valuable manuscripts that lurk in our
different public libraries, and make it worth the while of men of
learning to correct and annotate the copies, instead of----, but it is
treading on hot embers!
TO HAVE AND TO BE.
The distinction is marked in a beautiful sentiment of a German poet:
Hast thou any thing? share it with me and I will pay thee the worth of
it. Art thou any thing? O then let us exchange souls!
The following is offered as a mere playful illustration:
"Women have no souls," says prophet Mahomet.
Nay, dearest Anna! why so grave?
I said you had no soul,'tis true:
For what you are, you cannot have--
'Tis I, that have one, since I first had you.
"Well, Sir!" exclaimed a lady, the vehement and impassionate partizan of
Mr. Wilkes, in the day of his glory, and during the broad blaze of his
patriotism, "Well, Sir! and will you dare deny that Mr. Wilkes is a
great man, and an eloquent man?"--"Oh! by no means, Madam! I have not a
doubt respecting Mr. Wilkes's talents!"--"Well, but, Sir! and is he not
a fine man, too, and a handsome man?"--"Why, Madam! he squints, doesn't
he?"--"Squints! yes to be sure he does, Sir! but not a bit more than a
gentleman and a man of sense ought to squint!"
GOODNESS OF HEART INDISPENSABLE TO A MAN OF GENIUS.
'If men will impartially, and not asquint, look toward the offices and
function of a poet, they will easily conclude to themselves the
impossibility of any man's being the good poet without being first a
good man. (Dedication to 'the Fox').'
Ben Jonson has borrowed this just and noble sentiment from Strabo.
[Greek (transliterated): 'h de (haretae) poiaetou sunezeuktai tae tou
anthropou kai ouch oionte agathhon genesthai, poiaetaen, mae proteron
genaethenta andra agathon.]
( Lib. I. p. 33. folio.)
MILTON AND BEN JONSON.
Those who have more faith in parallelism than myself, may trace Satan's
address to the sun in 'Paradise Lost' to the first lines of Ben Jonson's
"Light! I salute thee, but with wounded nerves, Wishing thy golden
splendour pitchy darkness!"
But even if Milton had the above in his mind, his own verses would be
more fitly entitled an apotheosis of Jonson's lines than an imitation.
We all remember Burke's curious assertion that there were 80,000
incorrigible jacobins in England. Mr. Colquhoun is equally precise in
the number of beggars, prostitutes, and thieves in the City of London.
Mercetinus, who wrote under Lewis XV. seems to have afforded the
precedent; he assures his readers, that by an accurate calculation there
were 50,000 incorrigible atheists in the City of Paris! Atheism then may
have been a co-cause of the French revolution; but it should not be
burthened on it, as its monster-child.
The following ode was written by Giordano Bruno, under prospect of that
martyrdom which he soon after suffered at Rome, for atheism: that is, as
is proved by all his works, for a lofty and enlightened piety, which was
of course unintelligible to bigots and dangerous to an apostate
hierarchy. If the human mind be, as it assuredly is, the sublimest
object which nature affords to our contemplation, these lines which
portray the human mind under the action of its most elevated affections,
have a fair claim to the praise of sublimity. The work from which they
are extracted is exceedingly rare (as are, indeed, all the works of the
Nolan philosopher), and I have never seen them quoted:--
'Daedaleas vacuis plumas nectere humeris
Concupiant alii; aut vi suspendi nubium
Alis, ventorumve appetant remigium;
Aut orbitae flammantis raptari alveo;
Nos vero illo donati sumus genio,
Ut fatum intrepedi objectasque umbras cernimus,
Ne caeci ad lumen solis, ad perspicuas
Naturae voces surdi, ad Divum munera
Ingrato adsimus pectore.
Non curamus stultorum quid opinio
De nobis ferat, aut queis dignetur sedibus.
Alis ascendimus sursum melioribus!
Quid nubes ultra, ventorum ultra est semita,
Vidimus, quantum satis est.
Illuc conscendent plurimi, nobis ducibus,
Per scalam proprio erectam et firmam in pectore,
Quam Deus, et vegeti sors dabit ingeni;
Non manes, pluma, ignis, ventus, nubes, spiritus,
Non sensus vegetans, non me ratio arguet,
Non indoles exculti clara ingenii;
Sed perfidi sycophantae supercilium
Absque lance, statera, trutina, oculo,
Miraculum armati segete.
Versificantis grammatistae encomium,
Buglossae Graecissantum, et epistolia
Lectorem libri salutantum a limine,
Latrantum adversum Zoilos, Momos, mastiges,
Hinc absint testimonia!
Procedat nudus, quern non ornant nubila,
Sol! Non conveniunt quadrupedum phalerae
Humano dorso! Porra veri species
Quaesita, inventa, et patefacta me efferat!
Etsi nullus intelligat,
Si cum natura sapio, et sub numine,
Id vere plus quam satis est.'
The conclusion alludes to a charge of impenetrable obscurity, in which
Bruno shares one and the same fate with Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and in
truth with every great discoverer and benefactor of the human race;
excepting only when the discoveries have been capable of being rendered
palpable to the outward senses, and have therefore come under the
cognizance of our "sober judicious critics," the men of "sound common
sense;" that is, of those snails in intellect, who wear their eyes at
the tips of their feelers, and cannot even see unless they at the same
time touch. When these finger-philosophers affirm that Plato, Bruno, &c.
must have been "out of their senses," the just and proper retort
is,--"Gentlemen! it is still worse with you! you have lost your reason!"
By the by, Addison in the Spectator has grossly misrepresented the
design and tendency of Bruno's 'Bestia Triomphante'; the object of
which was to show of all the theologies and theogonies which have been
conceived for the mere purpose of solving problems in the material
universe, that as they originate in fancy, so they all end in delusion,
and act to the hindrance or prevention of sound knowledge and actual
discovery. But the principal and most important truth taught in this
allegory is, that in the concerns of morality all pretended knowledge of
the will of Heaven which is not revealed to man through his conscience;
that all commands which do not consist in the unconditional obedience of
the will to the pure reason, without tampering with consequences (which
are in God's power, not in ours); in short, that all motives of hope and
fear from invisible powers, which are not immediately derived from, and
absolutely coincident with, the reverence due to the supreme reason of
the universe, are all alike dangerous superstitions. The worship founded
on them, whether offered by the Catholic to St. Francis, or by the poor
African to his Fetish differ in form only, not in substance. Herein
Bruno speaks not only as a philosopher, but as an enlightened
Christian;--the Evangelists and Apostles every where representing their
moral precepts not as doctrines then first revealed, but as truths
implanted in the hearts of men, which their vices only could have
NEGROS AND NARCISSUSES.
There are certain tribes of Negros who take for the deity of the day the
first thing they see or meet with in the morning. Many of our fine
ladies, and some of our very fine gentlemen, are followers of the same
sect; though by aid of the looking-glass they secure a constancy as to
the object of their devotion.
We here in England received a very high character of Lord ---- during his
stay abroad. "Not unlikely, Sir," replied the traveller; "a dead dog at
a distance is said to smell like musk."
THE PHAROS AT ALEXANDRIA.
Certain full and highly-wrought dissuasives from sensual indulgencies,
in the works of theologians as well as of satirists and story-writers,
may, not unaptly, remind one of the Pharos; the many lights of which
appeared at a distance as one, and this as a polar star, so as more
often to occasion wrecks than prevent them.
At the base of the Pharos the name of the reigning monarch was engraved,
on a composition, which the artist well knew would last no longer than
the king's life. Under this, and cut deep in the marble itself, was his
own name and dedication: "Sostratos of Gyndos, son of Dexiteles to the
Gods, protectors of sailors!"--So will it be with the 'Georgium Sidus'
the 'Ferdinandia', &c. &c.--Flattery's plaister of Paris will crumble
away, and under it we shall read the names of Herschel, Piozzi, and
SENSE AND COMMON SENSE.
I have noticed two main evils in philosophizing. The first is, the
absurdity of demanding proof for the very facts which constitute the
nature of him who demands it,--a proof for those primary and unceasing
revelations of self-consciousness, which every possible proof must
pre-suppose; reasoning, for instance, 'pro' and 'con', concerning the
existence of the power of reasoning. Other truths may be ascertained;
but these are certainty itself (all at least which we mean by the word),
and are the measure of every thing else which we deem certain. The
second evil is, that of mistaking for such facts mere general
prejudices, and those opinions that, having been habitually taken for
granted, are dignified with the name of common sense. Of these, the
first is the more injurious to the reputation, the latter more
detrimental to the progress of philosophy. In the affairs of common life
we very properly appeal to common sense; but it is absurd to reject the
results of the microscope from the negative testimony of the naked eye.
Knives are sufficient for the table and the market;--but for the
purposes of science we must dissect with the lancet.
As an instance of the latter evil, take that truly powerful and active
intellect, Sir Thomas Brown, who, though he had written a large volume
in detection of vulgar errors, yet peremptorily pronounces the motion of
the earth round the sun, and consequently the whole of the Copernican
system unworthy of any serious confutation, as being manifestly
repugnant to common sense; which said common sense, like a miller's
scales, used to weigh gold or gasses, may, and often does, become very
gross, though unfortunately not very uncommon, nonsense. And as for the
former, which may be called 'Logica Praepostera', I have read in
metaphysical essays of no small fame, arguments drawn 'ab extra' in
proof and disproof of personal identity, which, ingenious as they may
be, were clearly anticipated by the little old woman's appeal to her
little dog, for the solution of the very same doubts, occasioned by her
petticoats having been cut round about:--
If it is not me, he'll bark and he'll rail, But if I be I, he'll wag
his little tail.
I dare confess that Mr. Locke's treatise on Toleration appeared to me
far from being a full and satisfactory answer to the subtle and
oft-times plausible arguments of Bellarmin, and other Romanists. On the
whole, I was more pleased with the celebrated W. Penn's tracts on the
same subject. The following extract from his excellent letter to the
king of Poland appeals to the heart rather than to the head, to the
Christian rather than to the philosopher; and, besides, overlooks the
ostensible object of religious penalties, which is not so much to
convert the heretic, as to prevent the spread of heresy. The thoughts,
however, are so just in themselves, and expressed with so much life and
simplicity, that it well deserves a place in these Omniana:--
Now, O Prince! give a poor Christian leave to expostulate with thee.
Did Christ Jesus or his holy followers endeavour, by precept or
example, to set up their religion with a carnal sword? Called he any
troops of men or angels to defend him? Did he encourage Peter to
dispute his right with the sword? But did he not say, 'Put it up'? Or
did he countenance his over-zealous disciples, when they would have
had fire from heaven to destroy those that were not of their mind? No!
But did not Christ rebuke them, saying, 'Ye know not what spirit ye
are of?' And if it was neither Christ's spirit, nor their own spirit
that would have fire from heaven--Oh! what is that spirit that would
kindle fire on earth to destroy such as peaceably dissent upon the
account of conscience!
O King! when did the true religion persecute? When did the true church
offer violence for religion? Were not her weapons prayers, tears, and
patience? did not Jesus conquer by these weapons, and vanquish cruelty
by suffering? can clubs, and staves, and swords, and prisons, and
banishments reach the soul, convert the heart, or convince the
understanding of man? When did violence ever make a true convert, or
bodily punishment, a sincere Christian? This maketh void the end of
Christ's coming. Yea, it robbeth God's spirit of its office, which is
to convince the world. That is the sword by which the ancient
The theory of persecution seems to rest on the following assumptions.
1. A duty implies a right. We have a right to do whatever it is our duty
2. It is the duty and consequently the right of the supreme power in a
state to promote the greatest possible sum of well-being in that state.
3. This is impossible without morality.
4. But morality can neither be produced or preserved in a people at
large without true religion.
5. Relative to the duties of the legislature or governors, that is the
true religion which they conscientiously believe to be so.
6. As there can be but one true religion, at the same time, this one it
is their duty and right to authorize and protect.
7. But the established religion cannot be protected and secured except
by the imposition of restraints or the influence of penalties on those,
who profess and propagate hostility to it.
8. True religion, consisting of precepts, counsels, commandments,
doctrines, and historical narratives, cannot be effectually proved or
defended, but by a comprehensive view of the whole as a system. Now this
cannot be hoped for from the mass of mankind. But it may be attacked,
and the faith of ignorant men subverted by particular objections, by the
statement of difficulties without any counter-statement of the greater
difficulties which would result from the rejection of the former, and by
all the other stratagems used in the desultory warfare of sectaries and
infidels. This is, however, manifestly dishonest and dangerous, and
there must exist, therefore, a power in the state to prevent, suppress,
and punish it.
9. The advocates of toleration have never been able to agree among
themselves concerning the limits to their own claims; have never
established any clear rules, as to what shall and what shall not be
admitted under the name of religion and conscience. Treason and the
grossest indecencies not only may be, but have been, called by these
names: as among the earlier Anabaptists.
10. And last, it is a 'petitio principii', or begging the question, to
take for granted that a state has no power except in case of overt acts.
It is its duty to prevent a present evil, as much at least as to punish
the perpetrators of it. Besides, preaching and publishing are overt
acts. Nor has it yet been proved, though often asserted, that a
Christian sovereign has nothing to do with the eternal happiness or
misery of the fellow creatures entrusted to his charge.
HINT FOR A NEW SPECIES OF HISTORY.
"The very knowledge of the opinions and customs of so considerable a
part of mankind as the Jews now are, and especially have been
heretofore, is valuable both for pleasure and use. It is a very good
piece of history, and that of the best kind, namely, of human nature,
and of that part of it which is most different from us, and commonly
the least known to us. And, indeed, the principal advantage which is
to be made by the wiser sort of men of most writings, is rather to see
what men think and are, than to be informed of the natures and truth
of things; to observe what thoughts and passions have occupied men's
minds, what opinions and manners they are of. In this view it becomes
of no mean importance to notice and record the strangest ignorance,
the most putid fables, impertinent, trifling, ridiculous disputes, and
more ridiculous pugnacity in the defence and retention of the subjects
(Publisher's preface to the reader in Lightfoot's 'Works', vol. i.)
In the thick volume of title pages and chapters of contents (composed)
of large and small works correspondent to each (proposed) by a certain
'omni'-pregnant, 'nihili'-parturient genius of my acquaintance, not the
least promising is,--"A History of the morals and (as connected
therewith) of the manners of the English Nation from the Conquest to the
present time." From the chapter of contents it appears, that my friend
is a steady believer in the uninterrupted progression of his fellow
countrymen; that there has been a constant growth of wealth and
well-being among us, and with these an increase of knowledge, and with
increasing knowledge an increase and diffusion of practical goodness.
The degrees of acceleration, indeed, have been different at different
periods. The moral being has sometimes crawled, sometimes strolled,
sometimes walked, sometimes run; but it has at all times been moving
onward. If in any one point it has gone backward, it has been only in
order to leap forward in some other. The work was to commence with a
numeration table, or catalogue, of those virtues or qualities which make
a man happy in himself, and which conduce to the happiness of those
about him, in a greater or lesser sphere of agency. The degree and the
frequency in which each of these virtues manifested themselves, in the
successive reigns from William the Conqueror inclusively, were to be
illustrated by apposite quotations from the works of contemporary
writers, not only of historians and chroniclers, but of the poets,
romance writers, and theologians, not omitting the correspondence
between literary men, the laws and regulations, civil and
ecclesiastical, and whatever records the industry of antiquarians has
brought to light in their provincial, municipal, and monastic
histories:--tall tomes and huge! undegenerate sons of Anak, which look
down from a dizzy height on the dwarfish progeny of contemporary wit,
and can find no associates in size at a less distance than two
centuries; and in arranging which the puzzled librarian must commit an
anachronism in order to avoid an anatopism.
Such of these illustrations as most amused or impressed me, when I heard
them (for alas! even his very title pages and contents my friend
composes only in air!) I shall probably attempt to preserve in different
parts of these 'Omniana'. At present I shall cite one article only which
I found wafered on a blank leaf of his memorandum book, superscribed:
"Flattering news for 'Anno Domini' 2000, whenever it shall institute a
comparison between itself and the 17th and 18th centuries." It consists
of an extract, say rather, an exsection from the Kingston Mercantile
Advertiser, from Saturday, August the 15th, to Tuesday, August 18th,
1801. This paper which contained at least twenty more advertisements of
the very same kind, was found by accident among the wrapping-papers in
the trunk of an officer just returned from the West India station. They
stand here exactly as in the original, from which they are reprinted:--
Kingston, July 30, 1801.
Ran away, about three weeks ago, from a penn near Halfway Tree, a
negro wench, named Nancy, of the Chamba country, strong made, an ulcer
on her left leg, marked D. C. diamond between. She is supposed to be
harboured by her husband, Dublin, who has the direction of a wherry
working between this town and Port Royal, and is the property of Mr.
Fishley, of that place; the said negro man having concealed a boy in
his wherry before. Half a joe will be paid to any person apprehending
the above described wench, and delivering to Mr. Archibald M' Lea,
East end; and if found secreted by any person, the law will be put in
Kingston, August 13, 1801.
Strayed on Monday evening last, a negro boy of the Moco country, named
Joe, the property of Mr. Thomas Williams, planter, in St. John's, who
had sent him to town under the charge of a negro man, with a cart for
provisions. The said boy is, perhaps, from 15 to 18 years of age,
about twelve months in the country, no mark, speaks little English,
but can tell his owner's name; had on a long Oznaburg frock. It is
supposed he might have gone out to vend some pears and lemon-grass,
and have lost himself in the street. One pistole will be paid to any
person apprehending and bringing him to this office.
Kingston, July 1, 1801.
Forty Shillings Reward.
Strayed on Friday evening last, (and was seen going up West Street the
following morning), a small bay HORSE, the left ear lapped, flat rump,
much scored from the saddle on his back, and marked on the near side
F. M. with a diamond between. Whoever will take up the said horse, and
deliver him to W. Balantine, butcher, back of West Street, will
receive the above reward.
Kingston, July 4, 1801.
Strayed on Sunday morning last, from the subscriber's house, in East
Street, a bright dun He-Mule, the mane lately cropped, a large chafe
slightly skinned over on the near buttock, and otherwise chafed from
the action of the harness in his recent breaking. Half a joe will be
paid to any person taking up and bringing this mule to the
subscriber's house, or to the Store in Harbour Street. JOHN WALSH.
Kingston, July 2, 1801.
Ten pounds Reward,
About two years ago from the subscriber, a Negro woman named
purchased from Alexander M'Kean, Esq. She is about 20 years of age,
and 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; has a mark on one of her shoulders,
about the size of a quarter dollar, occasioned, she says, by the yaws;
of a coal black complexion, very artful, and most probably passes
about the country with false papers and under another name; if that is
not the case, it must be presumed she is harboured about Green pond,
where she has a mother and other connexions.
What a history! horses and negros! negros and horses! It makes me
tremble at my own nature. Surely, every religious and conscientious
Briton is equally a debtor in gratitude to Thomas Clarkson and his
fellow labourers with every African: for on the soul of every individual
among us did a portion of guilt rest, as long as the Slave Trade
A few years back the public was satiated with accounts of the happy
condition of the slaves in our colonies, and the great encouragements
and facilities afforded to such of them, as by industry and foresight
laboured to better their situation. With what truth this is stated as
the general tone of feeling among our planters, and their agents, may be
conjectured from the following sentences, which made part of what in
England we call the leading paragraph of the same newspaper:--
Strange as it may appear, we are assured as a fact, that a number of
slaves in this town have purchased lots of land, and are absolutely in
possession of the fee simple of lands and tenements. Neither is it
uncommon for the men slaves to purchase or manumize their wives, and
'vice versa', the wives their husbands. To account for this, we need
only look to the depredations daily committed, and the impositions
practised to the distress of the community and ruin of the fair
trader. Negro yards too, under such direction, will necessarily prove
the asylum of runaways from the country.
When I hear (as who now can travel twenty miles in a stage coach without
the probability of hearing) an ignorant religionist quote an unconnected
sentence of half a dozen words from any part of the Old or New
Testament, and resting on the literal sense of these words the eternal
misery of all who reject, nay, even of all those countless myriads, who
have never had the opportunity of accepting this, and sundry other
articles of faith conjured up by the same textual magic; I ask myself
what idea these persons form of the Bible, that they should use it in a
way in which they themselves use no other book? They deem the whole
written by inspiration. Well! but is the very essence of rational
discourse, that is, connection and dependency done away, because the
discourse is infallibly rational? The mysteries, which these spiritual
lynxes detect in the simplest texts, remind me of the 500 nondescripts,
each as large as his own black cat, which Dr. Katterfelto, by aid of his
solar microscope, discovered in a drop of transparent water.
But to a contemporary who has not thrown his lot in the same helmet with
them, these fanatics think it a crime to listen. Let them then, or far
rather, let those who are in danger of infection from them, attend to
the golden aphorisms of the old and orthodox divines. "Sentences in
scripture (says Dr. Donne) like hairs in horses' tails, concur in one
root of beauty and strength; but being plucked out, one by one, serve
only for springes and snares."
The second I transcribe from the preface to Lightfoot's works. "Inspired
writings are an inestimable treasure to mankind; for so many sentences,
so many truths. But then the true sense of them must be known:
otherwise, so many sentences, so many authorized falsehoods."
Our modern latitudinarians will find it difficult to suppose, that
anything could have been said in the defence of Pelagianism equally
absurd with the facts and arguments which have been adduced in favour of
original sin, (sin being taken as guilt; that is, observes a Socinian
wit, the crime of being born). But in the comment of Rabbi Akibah on
Ecclesiastes xii. 1. we have a story of a mother, who must have been a
most determined believer in the uninheritability of sin. For having a
sickly and deformed child, and resolved that it should not be thought to
have been punished for any fault of its parents or ancestors, and yet
having nothing else for which to blame the child, she seriously and
earnestly accused it before the judge of having kicked her unmercifully
during her pregnancy.
I am firmly persuaded that no doctrine was ever widely diffused among
various nations through successive ages and under different religions,
(such as is the doctrine of original sin, and redemption, those
fundamental articles of every known religion professing to be revealed,)
which is not founded either in the nature of things or in the
necessities of our nature. In the language of the schools, it carries
with it presumptive evidence that it is either objectively or
subjectively true. And the more strange and contradictory such a
doctrine may appear to the understanding, or discursive faculty, the
stronger is the presumption in its favour. For whatever satirists may
say, and sciolists imagine, the human mind has no predilection for
absurdity. I do not, however, mean that such a doctrine shall be always
the best possible representation of the truth on which it is founded;
for the same body casts strangely different shadows in different places,
and different degrees of light, but that it always does shadow out some
such truth, and derive its influence over our faith from our obscure
perception of that truth. Yea, even where the person himself attributes
his belief of it to the miracles, with which it was announced by the
founder of his religion.
THE SOUL AND ITS ORGANS OF SENSE.
It is a strong presumptive proof against materialism, that there does
not exist a language on earth, from the rudest to the most refined, in
which a materialist can talk for five minutes together, without
involving some contradiction in terms to his own system.
'Objection'. Will not this apply equally to the astronomer? Newton,
no doubt, talked of the sun's rising and setting, just like other men.
What should we think of the coxcomb who should have objected to him,
that he contradicted his own system? 'Answer'--No! it does not
apply equally; say rather, it is utterly inapplicable to the astronomer
and natural philosopher. For his philosophic, and his ordinary language
speak of two quite different things, both of which are equally true. In
his ordinary language he refers to a fact of appearance, to a phenomenon
common and necessary to all persons in a given situation; in his
scientific language he determines that one position or figure, which
being supposed, the appearance in question would be the necessary
result, and all appearances in all situations maybe demonstrably
foretold. Let a body be suspended in the air, and strongly illuminated.
What figure is here? A triangle. But what here? A trapezium;--and so on.
The same question put to twenty men, in twenty different positions and
distances, would receive twenty different answers: each would be a true
answer. But what is that one figure which, being so placed, all these
facts of appearance must result according to the law of
perspective?--Ay! this is a different question, this is a new subject.
The words which answer this would be absurd if used in reply to the
Thus, the language of the scripture on natural objects is as strictly
philosophical as that of the Newtonian system. Perhaps more so. For it
is not only equally true, but it is universal among mankind, and
unchangeable. It describes facts of appearance. And what other language
would have been consistent with the divine wisdom? The inspired writers
must have borrowed their terminology, either from the crude and mistaken
philosophy of their own times, and so have sanctified and perpetuated
falsehood, unintelligible meantime to all but one in ten thousand; or
they must have anticipated the terminology of the true system, without
any revelation of the system itself, and so have become unintelligible
to all men; or lastly, they must have revealed the system itself, and
thus have left nothing for the exercise, developement, or reward of the
human understanding, instead of teaching that moral knowledge, and
enforcing those social and civic virtues, out of which the arts and
sciences will spring up in due time and of their own accord. But nothing
of this applies to the materialist; he refers to the very same facts, of
which the common language of mankind speaks: and these too are facts
that have their sole and entire being in our own consciousness; facts,
as to which 'esse' and 'conscire' are identical. Now, whatever is common
to all languages, in all climates, at all times, and in all stages of
civilization, must be the exponent and consequent of the common
consciousness of man as man. Whatever contradicts this universal
language, therefore, contradicts the universal consciousness, and the
facts in question subsisting exclusively in consciousness, whatever
contradicts the consciousness contradicts the fact.
I have been seduced into a dry discussion where I had intended only a
few amusing facts, in proof, that the mind makes the sense far more than
the senses make the mind. If I have life, and health, and leisure, I
purpose to compile from the works, memoirs, and transactions of the
different philosophical societies in Europe, from magazines, and the
rich store of medical and psychological publications, furnished by the
English, French, and German press, all the essays and cases that relate
to the human faculties under unusual circumstances, (for pathology is
the crucible of physiology), excluding such only as are not intelligible
without the symbols or terminology of science. These I would arrange
under the different senses and powers: as
the touch, &c.;
the imitative power, voluntary and automatic;
the imagination, or shaping and modifying power;
the fancy or the aggregative and associative power;
the understanding, or the regulative, substantiating, and realizing power;
the speculative reason, 'vis theoretica et scientifica', or the power,
by which we produce, or aim to produce, unity, necessity, and a
universality in all our knowledge by means of principles, 'a priori';
the will or practical reason;
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