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pierce into the nature of things by the mere effort of the will, arrived at conclusions visible to none but their own yearning and impatient eyes, and lost themselves in the ethereal dogmatisms of Plotinus and Porphyry.
house had its protecting gods, which had blessed the inmate's ancestors, and which would bless him also, if he cultivated the social affections: for the same word which expressed piety towards the Gods expressed love towards relations and friends. If in all this there was nothing but the worship of a more graceful humanity, there may be worships much worse as well as much better. And the divinest spirit that ever appeared on earth has told us that the extension of human sympathy embraces all that is required of us, either to do or to foresee.
The greatest pleasure arising to a modern imagination from the ancient mythology, is in a mingled sense of the old popular belief and of the philosophical refinements upon it. We take Apollo, and Mercury, and Venus, as shapes that existed in popular credulity, as the greater fairies of the ancient world: and we regard them, at the same time, as personifications of all that is beautiful and genial in the forms and tendencies of creation. But the result, coming as it does, too, through avenues of beautiful poetry, both ancient and modern, is so entirely cheerful, that we are apt to think it must have wanted gravity to more believing eyes. We fancy that the old world saw nothing in religion but lively and graceful shapes, as remote from the more obscure and awful hintings of the world unknown, as physics appear to be from the metaphysical; as the eye of a beautiful woman is from the inward speculations of a Brahmin; or a lily at noonday from the wide obscurity of night-time.
This supposition appears to be carried a great deal too far. We will not inquire, in this place, how far the mass of mankind, when these shapes were done away, did or did not escape from a despotic anthropomorphitism; nor how far they were driven by the vaguer fears, and the opening of a more visible eternity, into avoiding the whole subject. rather than courting it; nor how it is, that the nobler practical religion which was afforded them, has been unable to bring back their frightened theology from the angry and avaricious pursuits into which they fled for refuge. But, setting aside the portion of terror, of which heathenism partook in common with all faiths originating in uncultivated times, the ordinary run of pagans were perhaps more impressed with a sense of the invisible world, in consequence of the very visions presented to their imagination, than the same description of men under a more shadowy system. There is the same difference between the two things, as between a populace believing in fairies, and a populace not believing. The latter is in the high road to something better, if not drawn aside into new terrors on the one hand or mere worldliness on the other. But the former is led to look out of the mere worldly common-places about it, twenty times to the other's once. It has a sense of a supernatural state of things, however gross. It has a link with another world, from which something like gravity is sure to strike into the most cheerful heart. Every forest, to the mind's eye of a Greek, was haunted with superior intelligences. Every stream had its presiding nymph, who was thanked for the draught of water. Every
In all this, there is a deeper sense of another world, than in the habit of contenting oneself with a few vague terms and embodying nothing but Mammon. There is a deeper sense of another world, precisely because there is a deeper sense of the present; of its varieties, its benignities, its mystery. It was a strong sense of this, which made a living poet, who is accounted very orthodox in his religious opinions, give vent, in that fine sonnet, to his impatience at seeing the beautiful planet we live upon, with all its starry wonders about it, so little thought of, compared with what is ridiculously called the world. He seems to have dreaded the symptom, as an evidence of materialism, and of the planets being dry self
Imagine the feelings with which an ancient believer must have gone by the oracular oaks of Dodona; or the calm groves of the Eumenides; or the fountain where Proserpine vanished under ground with Pluto; or the Great Temple of the mysteries at Eleusis; or the laurelled mountain Parnassus, on the side of which was the temple of Delphi, where Apollo was supposed to be present in person. Imagine Plutarch, a devout and yet a liberal believer, when he went to study theology and philosophy at Delphi with what feelings must he not have passed along the woody paths of the hill, approaching nearer every instant to the divinity, and not sure that a glance of light through the trees was not the lustre of the god himself going by! This is mere poetry to us, and very fine it is; but to him it was poetry, and religion, and beauty, and gravity, and hushing awe, and a path as from one world to another.
With similar feelings he would cross the ocean, an element that naturally detaches the mind from earth, and which the ancients regarded as especially doing so. He had been in the Carpathian sea, the favourite haunt of Proteus, who was supposed to be gifted above every other deity with a knowledge of the causes of things. Towards evening, when the winds were rising, and the sailors had made their vows to Neptune, he would think of the old "shepherd of the seas of yore," and believe it possible that he might become visible to his eyesight, driving through the darkling waters, and turning the sacred wildness of his face towards the blessed ship.
existing things, peopled with mere successive mortalities, and unconnected with any superintendence or consciousness in the universe about them. It is abhorrent from all we think and feel, that they should be so and yet Love might make heavens of them, if they
"The world is too much with us. Late and soon,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
XXIV. GETTING UP ON COLD
AN Italian author-Giulio Cordara, a Jesuit -has written a poem upon insects, which he begins by insisting, that those troublesome and abominable little animals were created for our annoyance, and that they were certainly not inhabitants of Paradise. We of the north may dispute this piece of theology; but on the other hand, it is as clear as the snow on the house-tops, that Adam was not under the necessity of shaving; and that when Eve walked out of her delicious bower, she did not step upon ice three inches thick.
Some people say it is a very easy thing to get up of a cold morning. You have only, they tell you, to take the resolution; and the thing is done. This may be very true; just as a boy at school has only to take a flogging, and the thing is over. But we have not at all made up our minds upon it; and we find it a very pleasant exercise to discuss the matter, candidly, before we get up. This at least is not idling, though it may be lying. It affords an excellent answer to those, who ask how lying in bed can be indulged in by a reasoning being, -a rational creature. How? Why with the argument calmly at work in one's head, and the clothes over one's shoulder. Oh -it is a fine way of spending a sensible, impartial half-hour.
If these people would be more charitable, they would get on with their argument better. But they are apt to reason so ill, and to assert so dogmatically, that one could wish to have them stand round one's bed of a bitter morning, and lie before their faces. They ought to hear both sides of the bed, the inside and out. If they cannot entertain themselves with their own thoughts for half an hour or so, it is not the fault of those who can.
Candid inquiries into one's decumbency, besides the greater or less privileges to be allowed a man in proportion to his ability of keeping early hours, the work given his faculties, &c. will at least concede their due merits to such representations as the following. In the first place, says the injured but calm appealer, I have been warm all night, and find my system in a state perfectly suitable to a warm-blooded animal. To get out of this state into the cold, besides the inharmonious and uncritical abruptness of the transition, is so unnatural to such a creature, that the poets, refining upon the tortures of the damned, make one of their greatest agonies consist in being suddenly transported from heat to cold, -from fire to ice. They are "haled" out of their "beds," says Milton, by "harpy-footed furies,"-fellows who come to call them. On my first movement towards the anticipation of getting up, I find that such parts of the sheets and bolster, as are exposed to the air of the room, are stone-cold. On opening my eyes, the first thing that meets them is my own breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, like smoke out of a chimney. Think of this symptom. Then I turn my eyes sideways and see the window all frozen over. Think of that. Then the servant comes in. "It is very cold this morning, is it not?"-" Very cold, Sir."—"Very cold indeed, isn't it?"—" Very cold indeed, Sir."-" More than usually so, isn't it, even for this weather?" (Here the servant's wit and good-nature are put to a considerable test, and the inquirer lies on thorns for the answer.) "Why, Sir I think it is." (Good creature! There is not a better, or more truth-telling servant going.) "I must rise, however-get me some warm water."Here comes a fine interval between the departure of the servant and the arrival of the hot water; during which, of course, it is of "no use?" to get up. The hot water comes. "Is it quite hot?"-" Yes, Sir."-" Perhaps too hot for shaving: I must wait a little?"-" No Sir; it will just do." (There is an over-nice propriety sometimes, an officious zeal of virtue, a little troublesome.) "Oh-the shirt-you must air my clean shirt ;-linen gets very damp this weather."-" Yes, Sir." Here another delicious five minutes. A knock at the door. "Oh, the shirt-very well. My stockings-I think the stockings had better be aired too."-" Very well, Sir."-Here another interval. At length everything is ready, except myself. I now, continues our incumbent (a happy word, by the bye, for a country vicar)
I now cannot help thinking a good dealwho can upon the unnecessary and villanous custom of shaving: it is a thing so unmanly (here I nestle closer)-so effeminate (here I recoil from an unlucky step into the colder part of the bed.)-No wonder that the Queen of France took part with the rebels against
that degenerate King, her husband, who first affronted her smooth visage with a face like her own. The Emperor Julian never showed the luxuriancy of his genius to better advantage than in reviving the flowing beard. Look at Cardinal Bembo's picture at Michael Angelo's at Titian's-at Shakspeare's-at Fletcher's-at Spenser's at Chaucer's-at Alfred's at Plato's-I could name a great man for every tick of my watch.-Look at the Turks, a grave and otiose people.-Think of Haroun Al Raschid and Bed-ridden Hassan.Think of Wortley Montague, the worthy son of his mother, above the prejudice of his time -Look at the Persian gentlemen, whom one is ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, their dress and appearance are so much finer than our own-Lastly, think of the razor itself how totally opposed to every sensation of bed -how cold, how edgy, how hard! how utterly different from anything like the warm and circling amplitude, which
Sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses.
Add to this, benumbed fingers, which may help you to cut yourself, a quivering body, a frozen towel, and a ewer full of ice; and he that says there is nothing to oppose in all this, only shows, that he has no merit in opposing it. Thomson the poet, who exclaims in his Seasons
Falsely luxurious! Will not man awake?
used to lie in bed till noon, because he said he had no motive in getting up. He could imagine the good of rising; but then he could also imagine the good of lying still; and his exclamation, it must be allowed, was made upon summer-time, not winter. We must proportion the argument to the individual character. A money-getter may be drawn out of his bed by three or four pence; but this will not suffice for a student. A proud man may say, "What shall I think of myself, if I don't get up?" but the more humble one will be content to waive this prodigious notion of himself, out of respect to his kindly bed. The mechanical man shall get up without any ado at all; and so shall the barometer. An ingenious lier in bed will find hard matter of discussion even on the score of health and longevity. He will ask us for our proofs and precedents of the ill effects of lying later in cold weather; and sophisticate much on the advantages of an even temperature of body; of the natural propensity (pretty universal) to have one's way; and of the animals that roll themselves up, and sleep all the winter. As to longevity, he will ask whether the longest is of necessity the best; and whether Holborn is the handsomest street in London.
XXV. THE OLD GENTLEMAN.
OUR Old Gentleman, in order to be exclusively himself, must be either a widower or a bachelor. Suppose the former. We do not mention his precise age, which would be invidious-nor whether he wears his own hair or a wig; which would be wanting in universality. If a wig, it is a compromise between the more modern scratch and the departed glory of the toupee. If his own hair, it is white, in spite of his favourite grandson, who used to get on the chair behind him, and pull the silver hairs out, ten years ago. If he is bald at top, the hairdresser, hovering and breathing about him like a second youth, takes care to give the bald place as much powder as the covered; in order that he may convey to the sensorium within a pleasing indistinctness of idea respecting the exact limits of skin and hair. He is very clean and neat; and, in warm weather, is proud of opening his waistcoat half-way down, and letting so much of his frill be seen, in order to show his hardiness as well as taste. His watch and shirt-buttons are of the best; and he does not care if he has two rings on a finger. If his watch ever failed him at the club or coffeehouse, he would take a walk every day to the nearest clock of good character, purely to keep it right. He has a cane at home, but seldom uses it, on finding it out of fashion with his elderly juniors. He has a small cocked hat for gala days, which he lifts higher from his head than the round one, when bowed to. In his pockets are two handkerchiefs (one for the neck at night-time), his spectacles, and his pocket-book. The pocket-book, among other things, contains a receipt for a cough, and some verses cut out of an odd sheet of an old magazine, on the lovely Duchess of A., beginning
When beauteous Mira walks the plain.
He intends this for a common-place book which he keeps, consisting of passages in verse and prose, cut out of newspapers and magazines, and pasted in columns; some of them rather gay. His principal other books are Shakspeare's Plays and Milton's Paradise Lost; the Spectator, the History of England, the Works of Lady M. W. Montague, Pope and Churchill; Middleton's Geography; the Gentleman's Magazine; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity; several plays with portraits in character; Account of Elizabeth Canning, Memoirs of George Ann Bellamy, Poetical Amusements at Bath-Easton, Blair's Works, Elegant Extracts; Junius as originally published; a few pamphlets on the American War and Lord George Gordon, &c. and one on the French Revolution. In his sitting-rooms are some engravings from Hogarth and Sir Joshua ; an engraved portrait of the Marquis of Granby; ditto of M. le Comte de Grasse surrendering to Admiral Rodney;
a humorous piece after Penny; and a portrait of himself, painted by Sir Joshua. His wife's portrait is in his chamber, looking upon his bed. She is a little girl, stepping forward with a smile, and a pointed toe, as if going to dance. He lost her when she was sixty.
The Old Gentleman is an early riser, because he intends to live at least twenty years longer. He continues to take tea for breakfast, in spite of what is said against its nervous effects; having been satisfied on that point some years ago by Dr. Johnson's criticism on Hanway, and a great liking for tea previously. His china cups and saucers have been broken since his wife's death, all but one, which is religiously kept for his use. He passes his morning in walking or riding, looking in at auctions, looking after his India bonds or some such money securities, furthering some subscription set on foot by his excellent friend Sir John, or cheapening a new old print for his portfolio. He also hears of the newspapers; not caring to see them till after dinner at the coffee-house. He may also cheapen a fish or so; the fishmonger soliciting his doubting eye as he passes, with a profound bow of recognition. He eats a pear before dinner.
His dinner at the coffee-house is served up to him at the accustomed hour, in the old accustomed way, and by the accustomed waiter. If William did not bring it, the fish would be sure to be stale, and the flesh new. He eats no tart; or if he ventures on a little, takes cheese with it. You might as soon attempt to persuade him out of his senses, as that cheese is not good for digestion. He takes port; and if he has drunk more than usual, and in a more private place, may be induced by some respectful inquiries respecting the old style of music, to sing a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Mr. Lampe, such as
Chloe, by that borrowed kiss,
Come, gentle god of soft repose,
or his wife's favourite ballad, beginning
At Upton on the hill,
Of course, no such exploit can take place in the coffee-room: but he will canvass the theory of that matter there with yon, or discuss the weather, or the markets, or the theatres, or the merits of " my lord North" or "my lord Rockingham" for he rarely says simply, lord; it is generally "my lord," trippingly and genteelly off the tongue. If alone after dinner, his great delight is the newspaper; which he prepares to read by wiping his spectacles, carefully adjusting them on his eyes, and drawing the candle close to him, so as to stand sideways betwixt his ocular aim and the small type. He then holds the paper at arm's length, and dropping his eyelids half down and his mouth half open,
takes cognizance of the day's information. If he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened by a new-comer, or when he suspects somebody is over-anxious to get the paper out of his hand. On these occasions he gives an important hem! or so; and resumes.
In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond of going to the theatre, or of having a game of cards. If he enjoys the latter at his own house or lodgings, he likes to play with some friends whom he has known for many years; but an elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet and scientific; and the privilege is extended to younger men of letters; who, if ill players, are good losers. Not that he is a miser, but to win money at cards is like proving his victory by getting the baggage; and to win of a younger man is a substitute for his not being able to beat him at rackets. He breaks up early, whether at home or abroad.
At the theatre, he likes a front row in the He comes early, if he can do so without getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently waiting for the drawing up of the curtain, with his hands placidly lying one over the other on the top of his stick. He generously admires some of the best performers, but thinks them far inferior to Garrick, Woodward, and Clive. During splendid scenes, he is anxious that the little boy should see.
He has been induced to look in at Vauxhall again, but likes it still less than he did years back, and cannot bear it in comparison with Ranelagh. He thinks everything looks poor, flaring, and jaded. "Ah!" says he, with a sort of triumphant sigh, "Ranelagh was a noble place! Such taste, such elegance, such beauty! There was the Duchess of A., the finest woman in England, Sir; and Mrs. L., a mighty fine creature; and Lady Susan what's her name, that had that unfortunate affair with Sir Charles. Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans."
The Old Gentleman is very particular in having his slippers ready for him at the fire, when he comes home. He is also extremely choice in his snuff, and delights to get a fresh box-full in Tavistock-street, in his way to the theatre. His box is a curiosity from India. He calls favourite young ladies by their Christian names, however slightly acquainted with them; and has a privilege of saluting all brides, mothers, and indeed every species of lady, on the least holiday occasion. If the husband for instance has met with a piece of luck, he instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the wife on the cheek. The wife then says, " My niece, Sir, from the country;" and he kisses the niece. The niece, seeing her cousin biting her lips at the joke, says, "My cousin Harriet, Sir" and he kisses the cousin. He "never recollects such weather," except during the "Great Frost," or when he rode down with "Jack Skrimshire to Newmarket." He grows
young again in his little grand-children, especially the one which he thinks most like himself; which is the handsomest. Yet he likes best perhaps the one most resembling his wife; and will sit with him on his lap, holding his hand in silence, for a quarter of an hour together. He plays most tricks with the former, and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general who was the father of Zebedee's children. If his grandsons are at school, he often goes to see them; and makes them blush by telling the master or the upper-scholars, that they are fine boys, and of a precocious genius. He is much struck when an old acquaintance dies, but adds that he lived too fast; and that poor Bob was a sad dog in his youth; "a very sad dog, Sir; mightily set upon a short life and a merry one.'
When he gets very old indeed, he will sit
for whole evenings, and say little or nothing; but informs you, that there is Mrs. Jones (the housekeeper)" She'll talk.”
OUR old book-friend, the Dolphin, used to be confounded with the porpus; but modern writers seem to concur in making a distinction between them. We remember being much mortified at this separation; for having, in our childhood, been shown something dimly rolling in the sea, while standing on the coast at twilight, and told with much whispering solemnity that it was a porpus, we had afterwards learnt to identify it with the Dolphin, and thought we had seen the romantic fish on whom Arion rode playing his harp.
Spenser introduces Arion most beautifully, in all his lyrical pomp, in the marriage of the Thames and Medway. He goes before the bride, smoothing nwards with the soun of his harp, like the very progress of the
Then there was heard a most celestiall sound
So went he, playing on the watery plain.
Perhaps in no one particular thing or image, have some great poets shown the different characters of their genius more than in the use of the Dolphin. Spenser, who of all his tribe lived in a poetical world, and saw things as clearly there as in a real one, has never shown this nicety of realisation more than in the following passage. He speaks of his Dolphins with as familiar a detail, as if they were horses waiting at a door with an equipage.
A team of Dolphins ranged in array
Which with their finny oares the swelling sea did sheare.
Soon as they been arrived upon the brim
Of the Rich Strand, their charets they forlore; And let their teamed fishes softly swim
Along the margent of the foamy shore,
Lest they their finnes should bruise, and surbeat sore Their tender feete upon the stony ground.
There are a couple of Dolphins like these, in Raphael's Galatea. Dante, with his tendency to see things in a dreary point of view, has given an illustration of the agonies of some of the damned in his Inferno, at once new, fine, and horrible. It is in the 22d book," Come i del
fini," &c. He says that some wretches, swimming in one of the gulfs of hell, shot out their backs occasionally, like Dolphins, above the pitchy liquid, in order to snatch a respite from torment; but darted them back again like lightning. The devils would prong them as they rose. Strange fancies these for maintaining the character of religion !
Hear Shakspeare, always the noble and the good-natured. We forget of what great character he is speaking; but never was an image that more singularly yet completely united superiority and playfulness.
His delights Were dolphin-like; and showed themselves above The element he lived in.
XXVII. RONALD OF THE PERFECT HAND.
[The following tale is founded on a Scottish tradition. It was intended to be written in verse; which will account for its present appearance.]
THE stern old shepherd of the air,
'Tis evening quick ;-'tis night-the rain
That seems as if 'twould struggle near,