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having once arrived at the heterogeneous state of organism, thus producing individuality and consciousness, it could never relapse into a state less heterogeneous or more homogeneous-that the soul is immortal in its individuality.*
It will now be expedient to consider some of the consequences of the truth of the hypothesis. In the first place, it may be asked, why, if it is true that the souls of men occupy this medium which is around us everywhere, they do not manifest themselves? What consolation do men in the natural state get from their friends who may be in the supposed state? or what injury or disadvantage do men in the former state receive from their enemies in the latter state? The answer is simple. The very fact that this is a subsensible medium must render the existence of persons in it subsensible or not susceptible to the senses. The only way in which the psychical force can be made manifest to us is when this subsensible substance is combined to form a living body, i.e., when a sentient being is born. By biological combination the psychical force becomes manifest; but this combination only takes place perfectly when a sentient being is born. It may take place imperfectly or partially under certain abnormal conditions of the individual, but of this he is not conscious. There is, then, and can be no direct communication between human beings and the souls of the departed. And the fact that spiritualists always require a “medium” to communicate at all with the invisible world shows that it is only when in combination with some sentient being that this psychical substance and force can make itself in any way evident to us. The difficulty in the way of spiritualism, if the hypothesis be true, is that, in order to effect any true, reliable or definite communication, the soul of the “psychic must leave its body entirely and allow that of the “spirit” to take its place; a thing which appears to be absolutely impossible. Until such a thing is practicable, spiritualism will never attain the certainty of a science, or the reliability or definiteness necessary to make it of any advantage to humanity.
* It is curious to note the fact that, in accordance with the laws of the evolution of organisms, a being may yet be formed in the course of millions of years so attenuated in structure as to answer all the conditions of this subsensible existence. Man is becoming more and more nervous, more and more sentient, more and more psychical, as time passes and evolution proceeds. And it is some comfort, perhaps, to observe that, as this change goes on, man is less and less dependent on a ,high degree of temperature. The races living in the torrid zone are less active intellectually, less psychical. The races living in the colder regions, within certain limits, are more active intellectually, and more psychical. Psychical operations go on at a low temperature. Age by age a less and less degree of temperature is endurable by man, as he becomes more and more psychical. And if the temperature of the solar system is diminishing, if the constitution of the sun is changing and its heating power diminishing, there is consolation in the theory that man's need of heat is diminishing at a corresponding rate, and his capacity to endure cold correspondingly increasing. He need not, therefore, fear extinction.
This hypothesis of the soul, properly interpreted, would explain the existence of a “nerve atmosphere,” “personal magnetism,” “mesmerism," and many or all forms of manifestation of personal power beyond the body. Much of the effect of so-called personal magnetism and the influence of the presence of certain individuals is due, doubtless, to the "expectant attention" of the person affected.
affected. But the entire effect cannot be satisfactorily explained in that way; while the theory of a subsensible something having its nucleus and normal residence in the body, but extending itself, at certain times, by its power of expansion, to short distances, makes the whole matter comprehensible. Again the hypothesis will account admirably for the existence of a common consciousness, that indefinite psychical manifestation which has been discovered by metaphysicians, and is recognized of late by all men of advanced thought. This consciousness is different from the individual consciousness, and can be explained readily on the theory of a great psychical force residing in a subsensible medium pervading society, a medium in which all mental organisms inhere, and which constitutes more than an imaginative bond of unity between the individuals of the race.
Having thus sketched the outline of the material hypothesis of the soul, we leave it for the reader to fill it out, conceiving how the future state of the soul may be affected by its
truth, and what will be its powers of locomotion, expansion, improvement and happiness. There is, however, nothing in the theory to show that our means of obtaining knowledge and culture will be essentially different from what they are now. The psychical force will be developed, strengthened and cultured ; faculty will be evolved, and new powers added to the soul according to the same laws of evolution which prevail in the sensible world, and which govern the evolution of life and mind in humanity. The hypothesis, if true, places us but little nearer an understanding of the great and awful mysteries of life, past, present and future. It does not enable us to conceive any better of that mystery of mysteries, that great ultimate reality, which is God.
ART. III.-1. Le Rime del Petrarca con note litterali, e cri
tiche del Castelvetro, Tassoni, Muratori, Alfieri, Ginguenè. Da C. ALBERTINI da Verona. 2 tom. Firenze.
2. Essay on the Love, Poetry and Character of Petrarch. By
Ugo ToscolO. London.
3. Le Pétrarque en rimes françoises, avec com
mentaires. Par PHILIPPE DE MALDEGHEM, etc. Paris.
4. The Sonnets, Triumphs and other Poems of Petrarch.
Now first completely translated into English verse by various hands. With a Life of the Poet. By THOMAS CAMPBELL. London.
5. Memoires pour la vie de Petrarque. Par L'ABBÉ DE LA
In all ages and countries poets have been regarded as an impressible, sensitive race; more susceptible of pleasure and pain than any other class of mortals. If this be true of poets in general, it will be admitted that it is particularly so of the Italian poets. Thus, none have experienced more joy or more angnish, than the illustrious trio Dante, Tasso and Ariosto.
There is abundant evidence that Petrarch, the subject of our present article, was capable of as strong and deep emotions as any of his melodious brethren. It may, indeed, be justly said, that in tenderness none surpassed the lover of Laura ; and it is the unaltered, universal verdict of centuries that, in the unselfish constancy of his devotion, he has had no equal in ancient or modern times. He seems to have been more unfortunate in his love than any of his brethren, not excepting even Tasso, who suffered so much for the beautiful Leonora ; and he acknowledges his grief in many a fine sonnet. Yet it is sufficiently evident in all his writings that, however hopeless his passion was, it never ceased for nearly half a century to be a source of delight to him. If upon the other hand he felt many a bitter pang, it is certain that his experience in this respect was not so painful as that of Dante, Tasso, or Ariosto; for, with the exception that he too was a forced exile for most of his life, far from being persecuted by the powerful, either in church or state, he was peculiarly favored by both.
In short, no poet or author of any age has been more fortunate in this respect than Petrarch. Indeed, his popnlarity. among all classes, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, religious and irreligious, is one of the most interesting and remarkable facts in the literary history of the fourteenth century. This will become apparent as we proceed, and will be found to present a striking contrast to the feelings evinced at the present day, under similar circumstances, by a public that claims superior enlightenment.
But although no poet has been translated oftener than Petrarch-although his sonnets have been rendered into every language possessed of a literature; although they are not only admired by the cultivated of every nation, but find echos in every heart that is capable of a generous emotion, there is no story of equal interest in all modern literature more imperfectly understood than that of Petrarch and his Laura. Even the most intelligent class are, in general, content with the most
vague and erroneous views on a subject to which the world is indebted for a chaster, more beautiful, and more truthful delineation of the passion of love in all its moods and ramifications, its joys and its griefs, than is to be found in any other poet, ancient or modern.
Few are aware how much the modern poets of all countries -especially the lyrical poets —owe Petrarch; still fewer are aware that those who have borrowed most from him without acknowledgment are the readiest to disparage his genius. Because none, without stultifying themselves, can deny that his sonnets are beautiful, graceful and tender, those who have thus purloined his charming wreaths but failed to transplant them without depriving them of much of their native fragrance, are obliged to confine their criticisms to such charges as that Petrarch's sonnets are too much alike!
We do not mean that English poets have transgressed in this respect more than the poets of other countries; upon the 'whole the former are, perhaps, less to blame than the latter, for in none of the principal lauguages of Europe are there so few translations of Petrarch's best and most popular poems as in English. It would, however, be a grave mistake to infer from this that the indebtedness of English poetry to the muse of Petrarch is comparatively slight. It is no reflection on Shakespeare to say that even he has not disdained to call an occasional wreath from the Italian bard; he has done so in the tenderer scenes in Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, and Romeo and Juliet, but unlike many other poets who have drawn inspiration froin the same fountain, if the great dramatist has not imparted additional fragrance to the flowers which he has thus transplanted and naturalized in English soil, he has at least retained more of that fragrance than any other English poet who has borrowed from Petrarch. We are quite aware that sone of our readers will be disposed to question the indebtedness of Shakespeare to Petrarch; there are those whose admiration for the author of Hamlet partakes so much of the character of a passion that they regard it as a sort of sacrilege to think it possible that he was indebted for anything beautiful or sublime to any other poet. But facts are not altered by