صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Vainly, for lo! new messengers ! but more Worth hearing were the tidinge which they bore, This new arrival was a depulation, Sent by the Chapter, who, in convocation, Since the dean's uncle, their right reverend lord, The bishop, had been called to his reward, Had chosen him.--as fittest found...to keep And feed and fold his houseless, hungry sheep. Upon this hint Torribio spake; he paid The bishop a brief compliment, and said, “He upon this occasion might fulfil His promises; nor did he doubt his will. He had not yet informed him he had a son, Who, wanting not in mother wit, had none For the dark sciences : whom he had ceased To press upon this point, and made a priest : Nor better count his beads, nor said his credo, In all the many churches of Toledo. Then, since his pupil could not be at once A bishop and a dean, and must renounce The lesser dignity, he would outrun His wishes if he gave it to his son.”

• Embarrassed was the dean; but cleared his eye And cloudy forehead, and thus made reply: “It grieves mo...grieves me greatly to refuse The first small boon for which Torribio sues ; But a rich cousin, by my kin well seen, One that is only fit to be a dean, And who has promised I shall be his heir, Looks to my deanery; and, should I dare Withhold the prize for which he hopes, I should Anger each man and woman of my blood. But a poor deanery in Estremadura III fils his son, to whom I would assure a More fitting and more profitable boon :-And surely this could compass late or soon :--Sooner or later, some new prize must fall; And, since I must obey my clergy's call, Follow me, I beseech, and you shall be Friend, counsellor, and all in all to me: Leave not, dear master, ('tis my prayer) half done The work you have so happily begun; And reckon on his gratitude, who knows The measure of the mighty debt he owes."

Bound to this Lord” (though visible relation
Was none between them)" by old obligation,
He paid a debt; and hence might be inferred
How well with all he kept his plighted word.”
This fact, however it might make him grieve,
Torribio had the goodness to believe;
At his rare fortune that had gained the good,
Which he had lost, rejoiced as best he could ;
And, as before at Badajos, went to dwell at
His see of Compostella with the prelate.

. So little there those two were to remain,
That the remove was hardly worth their pain.
Soon the archbishop to a better home
Was summoned by a chamberlain from Rome,
With scarlet hat and brief; "the holy father?
(That brief declared in full) “desired to gather
Wisdom and knowledge from his mouth, whose name
Was noised through Christendom by clamorous fame;
And left him power again to appoint--that lesser
Might be his church's sorrow--his successor."

"Torribio was not with his reverend chief
When the pope's chamberlain brought hat and brief.
He to Toledo for some days had gone,
It chanced, upon a visit to his son;
Who (for his course had been more slow than sure)
Was living there upon a paltry cure :
But, being now returned, was spared the pain
or suing for the vacant see in vain :
Him the arch-prelate went to meet; he prest
With open arms Torribio lo his breast;
And cried ; “ you have heard good news; now hear the best!
Now have I two to tell instead of one;
I have been made a cardinal, and your son
A cardinal as well shall briefly be ;
Or I have no credit with the holy see.
I had predestined him my vacant throne :
But mark his evil fortune, nay, my ouon;
My mother, left at Badajos, when we
Were called to Compestella, wrote to me,


dear sir, were to Toledo gone,
Unless my mitre was bestowed on Don
Pablos de Salazar, her ancient friend
And her confessor, it would be her end.
And such, I well believe, would be the case,
Now put yourself, dear master, in my place :
Say; would you kill your mother ?” and he sighed.
--Not of a kind to counsel matricide,
Torribio was, in truth, or in appearance,
Content, nor cursed the beldain's interference.
But...would you sist the story...she whose will
The pious son pretended to fulfil,
This earnest advocate was old, and fat,
And foolish, seeing but her maid and cat;
And, as on all sides it was said, (Heaven bless her!)
Knew not the very name of her confessor.
Was it not rather at the instigation
of a Gallician lady, a relation
of this Don Pablos, it was brought about,
A hospitable widow and devout ?
Thus much is sure ; the prelate used to vaunt
This pious woman's wine of Alicant;
Called her unfailing flask "the widow's cruse,'
And often blest her ollas and ragouts.

After some pause, Torribio gave consent,

with him to his see of Badajos went; Where, as if he had filled the high vicar's stall, He was to the new bishop all in all : Nay.--by his conduct earned, and tongue and pen, Golden opinions of all sorts of men.

* Beneath the guidance of so good a master, The bishop, if more cautiously, moved faster In magic, (for more steady was his pace) Than when he first began to run that race; Learned studies with his duty to combine; And shaped himself withal so just a line That throughout Spain, in country, town, and court, Fame of his worth and wisdom made report. When lo! into his lap-unlooked for-fell a New plum, the archbishopric of Compostella. I should want words to tell, how at their loss Men--priests and people-mourned in Badajos : Whose Canons (their last tokens of respect) Besought their parting prelate to select One from among his many friends, to be His successor in that amicted see.

"The occasion was not by Torribio lost; Who for his son again besought the post; And was again refused the vacant place : But that with all imaginable grace: “ The archbishop felt such sorrow, felt such shame, Al so postponing his preceptor's claim: But could he a yet older claim withstand ? That of Don Ferdinand de Lara, grand Constable of Castile : for service done, He sought the windfall for a natural son.

However this might be, in friendly sort
Master and pupil sought the papal court :
Wherein as well the cardinal was seen,
As everywhere he heretofore had been ;
As popular with priest as pope, a vote, a
Word from his lips sufficed to rule the rota.
While thus acknowledged, pope and priesthood's gulde,
Yea, in his height of fame the pontiff died.
And lo! unanimous the conclave were
In calling him to fill St. Peter's chair.

“The holy father solemnly proclaimed...
A private audience Don Torribio claimed ;
And wept for pleasure while he kise'd his feet,
Who filled so worthily the sacred seat.

• He then to faithful services referred,

till 1620; 15 or 16 years after her death. And the And to the pope recalled his plighted word;

worthy chaplain errs (perhaps intentionally, to flatter Scarce hinted at the hat he had laid down,

his master) when he connects with Lord B.'s name a When he exchanged it for the triple crown : But limited his suit to one short prayer ;

tradition respecting the arch at Cambridge, which proWould be noro make his helpless son his care?

perly belongs to the Friar Roger Bacon.- Ed. Mess.] He would be well contented with possessing The means of life, if sweetened with his blessing.

DIALOGUE BETWEEN LORD BACON AND He on his part renounced each brighter vision;

And sought but for his needs such small provision
As might supply (enough would be a feast)
The wants of a philosopher and priest.

Lord Bacon (in his study.) Now, my pen, rest awhile.

The air of this dark and thought-stirring chamber must Meanwhile to him, that deem'd he'd gain'd his scope,

not be breathed for too long at a time, lest my wits grow And knew enough of magic for a pope,

sluggish by reason of too much poring. I will go And now could ill frequent the sabbath revels

forth and walk. But first let me restore to their shelves Of witches with hobgoblins, ghosts, and devils,

these wormwood schoolmen. Come gray-beard ArisHis friend Torribio had become a thorn

totle, mount thou first, and tell the spiders not to be In the flesh, a thing no longer to be borne :

astonished if their holes are darkened, for a seraphic The holy father took his line, and stout

doctor is about to follow. Scotus and Ramus, why In the resolve forthwith in pluck it out,

these dog's-ears? It was once a different sort. And Eyed the magician with a mien severe,

now, as I lift each book, methinks its cumbrous leaves And to his supplicant cried, “I grieve to hear,

club all their syllogisms, and conspire to weigh down You under false pretences of appliance

that feeble arm, which has just been employed in tranTo bidden studies and mysterious science,

scribing the Novum Organum. Alas! that folly and Dabble with spell, and deal with demon ; crimes

falsehood should be so hard to grapple with—but he The Christian church hath punished in all times.

that hopes to make mankind the wiser for his labors k would much irk me to pronounce your doom :

must not be soon tired. My single brain is matched Bat, if you four days hence are found in Rome,

against the errors of thousands; and yet every time I Beware the secular arm, lest you expire,

return to reflect upon the laws of nature, she meets my As well your sins deserve, in penal fire.”

thoughts with a more palpable sanction, and a voice

seems to whisper from the midst of her machinery, * He ended frowning; but, unmoved in look,

that I have not inquired in vain.-Ho! who waits Torribio heard the threat ; and simply spoke

in the ante-chamber there? Does any one desire an Anew the three mysterious words reversed,

audience? (Words not to be forgot) by him rehearsed

Page. The Queen has sent unto your Lordship, When he received the dean beneath his roof;

Mr. William Shakspeare, the player. Orlobolan, Pistrafier, Ornagriouf :

Bacon. Indeed !-I have wished to see that man. And called aloud (as he whilere had done)

Show him in. Report says her Majesty has lately From the open window, “ You need dress but one

lasked him to write a play upon a subject chosen by Partridge, Jacintha; for my friend, the Dean,

herself. Good-morrow, Mr. Shakspeare. Does not sup with me.” Then evanished clean

Shakspeare. Save your Lordship! Here is an epistle The scholar's vision : on the clock he cast

from her Majesty, His eyes, and saw but one short hour had past,

Bacon (Reads.) “The Queen desires, that as Mr. Since, with intent to study magic lore,

Shakspeare would fain have some savor of the Queen's He bad first darkened Don Torribio's door :

own poor vein of poesy, he may be shown the book of An hour which seemed to fill his every wish up:

sonnels, written by herself, and now in the keeping of That made him from a simple dean a bishop; Bishop, archbishop, cardinal, and pope :

my Lord Chancellor, who indeed may well keep what Yet all was but a bubble blown from soap:

he hath so much flattered; although she does not com. He in that hour had stirred not from his stool:

mand him to hide it altogether from the knowing and And that short hour had stamped him knave and fool.'


Shakspeare. How gracious is her Majesty! Sure the pen, for which she exchanges her sceptre, cannot choose but drop golden thoughts.

Bacon. You say well, Mr. Shakspeare. But let us

sit down, and discourse awhile. The sonnels will catch SELECTIONS.

no harm by our delay, for true poesy, they say, hath a bloom which time cannot blight.

Shakspeare. True, my Lord. Near to Castalia there (We fortunately possess three or four old volumes of bubbles also a fountain of petrifying water, wherein the Blackwood's Magazine, containing many things worthy muses are wont to dip whatever poesies have met the to be snatched from the oblivion that usually attends the approval of Apollo; so that the slender foliage, which productions of periodical literature. Some of these we

originally sprung forth in the cherishing brain of a true intend to select, for the Messenger.

poet, becomes hardened in all its leaves, and glitters as

if it were carved out of rubies and emeralds. The eleThe following dialogue, published in 1818, must ments have afterwards no power over it. strike every reader, as happily characteristic of the Bacon. Such will be the fortune of your own propersons who carry it on. Shakspeare's natural and ductions. simple explanations of his own intellectual processes,

Shakspeare. Ah, my Lord! Do not cncourage me Bacon's more profound philosophizings, and the exqui- whatever rude conceits his own natural vein supplies

to hope so. I am but a poor unlettered man, who seizes site though exaggerated flatteries of the Queen by him with, upon the enforcement of haste and necessity ; both of them; are word for word such as might be and therefore I fear that such as are of deeper studies expected from the real Shakspeare and Bacon, could than myself, will find many flaws in my handiwork to some actual colloquy of theirs be handed down to us. laugh at both now and hereafter.

Bacon. He that can make the multitude laugh and There is, however, an anachronism in making Bacon Lord Chancellor in Queen Elizabeth's time. He was A head naturally fertile and forgetive is worth many

weep as you do, Mr. Shakspeare, need not fear scholars. not even Lord Keeper until 1617; nor Lord Chancellor libraries, inasmuch as a tree is more valuable than a

basket of fruit, or a good hawk better than a bagful of Shakspeare. Indifferently, my Lord. He lacks the game, or the little purse which a fairy gave to Fortuna- eye of a true jester, and does not speak the wit as if it ius more inexhaustible than all the coffers in the trea- were his own. Nevertheless, my shafts do not seem sury. More scholarship might have sharpened your entirely blunted by his shooting them, since they are so judgment, but the particulars whereof a character is eagerly waited for by the spectators. As for pregnancy composed are better assembled by force of imagination in himself

, he has none. than of judgment, which, although it perceive coheren Bacon. Yet, by giving voice and utterance to your ces, cannot summon up materials, nor melt them into a thoughts, he has pleased ihe Queen to a degree seldom compound, with that felicity which belongs to imagina- known before. At each time of his reappearance, her tion alone.

majesty seemed to rejoice as if it had been the coming Shakspeare. My Lord, thus far I know, that the of a bridegroom, and the ladies of her court failed not first glimpse and conception of a character in my mind, to clap their hands. When they saw him fall down in is always engendered by chance and accident. We battle at Shrewsbury, they cried out, “ Alas! for our shall suppose, for instance, that I, sitting in a tap-room, sport is ended !” but when he rose again, alive and well, or standing in a tennis-court. The behavior of some the Queen began to laugh more than ever, and said she one fixes my attention. I note his dress, the sound of would know Falstaff better next time; and asked his voice, the turn of his countenance, the drinks he Essex, who stood behind her chair, if he had any such calls for, his questions and retorts, the fashion of his devices for saving himself at need. After the curtain person, and, in brief, the whole outgoings and incomings fell, Essex brought Sir John a purse of angels, which of the man. These grounds of speculation being the Queen said he would require, as Mrs. Quickly had cherished and revolved in my fancy, it becomes straight now pawned all her plate, and could no longer support way possessed with a swarm of conclusions and beliet's him in his debaucheries. concerning the individual. In walking home, I picture Shakspeare. Does your lordship sometimes honor out to myself what would be fitting for him to say or these scenic pastimes with your presence ? do, upon any given occasion, and these fantasies being Bacon. To say the truth, I have more frequently recalled, at some after period, when I am writing a play, read your plays than seen them acted. Look round shape themselves into divers mannikins, who are not this narrow closet, Mr. Shakspeare. Behold these long of being nursed into life. Thus comes forth Shal. rows of books, in which are marshalled various samples low, and Slender, and Mercutio, and Sir Andrew of men's wisdom and folly. Here is the theatre which Aguecheek.

I love most to visit, although it be not always for sport Bacon. These are characters who may be found alive or relaxation. This table is a stage, upon which these in the streets. But how frame you such'interlocutors as grave doctors sometimes descend to play their pranks, Brutus and Coriolanus?

until I grow weary, and cut short their logic by tapping Shakspeare. By searching histories, in the first place, their leaves together. These pens are what once served my Lord, for the germ. The filling up afterwards them for swords and daggers; and this wax is like the comes rather from feeling than observation. I turn human understanding, which they have run into a myself into a Brutus or a Coriolanus for the time; and mould, and stamped with the head of Aristotle. can, at least in fancy, partake sufficiently of the noble Shakspeare. Touching that matter I have the advan. ness of their nature, to put proper words in their tage of your Lordship. I care not whose head they mouths. Observation will not supply the poet with stamp it with, or what doctrines and opinions are curevery thing. He must have a stock of exalted senti- rent; for, so long as men are born with the same pasmenis in his own mind.

sions and dispositions, the world will furnish the same Bacon. In truth, Mr. Shakspeare, you have observed handles to the tragedian. Therefore, while my Lord the world so well, and so widely, that I can scarce Verulam is vexing his brain with subtle questions, believe you ever shut your eyes. I too, although much William Shakspeare lives with little thought, except it engrossed with other studies, am, in part, an observer be to gather fresh fuel for his fancy. To the poet who of mankind. Their dispositions, and the causes of has a ready-going pen, there needs not much painful their good or bad fortune, cannot well be overlooked preparative, since his best impressions are often got in even by the most devoted questioner of physical nature. ihe midst of idleness and sport. But note the difference of habitudes. No sooner have Bacon. I am told that you do not invent the plots of I observed and got hold of particulars, than they are your own plays, but generally borrow them from some taken up by my judgment to be commented upon, and common book of stories, such as Bocaccio's Decameron, resolved into general laws. Your imagination keeps or Cynthio's Novels. That practice must save a great them to make pictures of. My judgment, if she find them expenditure of thought and contrivance. to be comprehended under something already known by Shakspeare. It does, my Lord. I lack patience to her, lets them drop, and forgets them; for which reason invent the whole from the foundation. a certain book of essays, which I am writing, will be Bacon. If I guess aright, there is nothing so hard small in bulk, but I trust not light in substance. Thus and troublesome as the invention of coherent incidents; do men severally follow their inborn dispositions. and yet, methinks, after it is accomplished, it does not

Shakspeare. Every word of your Lordship's will be show so high a strain of wit as that which paints sepa. an adage to after times. For my part, I know my own rate characters and objects well. Dexterity would place, and aspire not after the abstruser studies ; achieve the making of a plot better than genius, which although I can give wisdom a welcome when she comes delights not so much in tracing a curious connexion in my way. But the inborn dispositions, as your among events, as in adorning a phantasy with bright Lordship has said, must not be warped from their colors, and eking it out with suitable appendages. natural bent, otherwise nothing but sterility will remain Homer's plot hangs but ill together. It is indeed no behind. A leg cannot be changed into an arm. Among better than a string of popular fables and superstitions, stageplayers, our first object is to exercise a new can caught up from among ihe Greeks; and I believe that didate, until we discover where his vein lies.

they who, in the time of Pisistratus, collected his poem, Bacon. Do not those who enact what you write fail did more than himself to digest its particulars. His sometimes in rendering your true meaning ?

praise must therefore be found in this, that he reconShak speure. Grievously, alas! and yet methinks ceived, amplified, and set forth, what was but dimly they often play well too. In writing, however, I strive and poorly conceived by common men. to make the character appear with sufficient clearness Shakspeare. My knowledge of the tongues is but in the dialogue, so that it may not lie altogether at the small, on which account I have read ancient authors discretion of looks and gestures.

mostly at second hand. I remember, when I first came Bacon. In what esteem hold you the man who to London, and began to be a hanger-on at the theatres, enacts Falstaff? Plays he not well ?

a great desire grew in me for more learning than had

falled to my share at Stratford; but fickleness and im. 1 if you will follow me into another chamber, I shall patience, and the bewilderment caused by new objects, show you the Queen's Book of Sonnets; which, not dispersed that wish into empty air. Ah, my Lord, you to commend up to the stars, would show much blindness cannot conceive what a strange thing it was for so and want of judgment. Her majesty is a great prinimpressible a rustic, to find himself turned loose in the cess, and must be well aware of the versatility of her midst of Babel. My faculties wrought to such a degree, own parts, which fit her no less for a seat among the that I was in a dream all day long. My bent was not Muses, than to fill the throne of her ancestors. then toward comedy, for most objects seemed noble, Shakspeare. Were her majesty to listen to all that and of much consideration. The music at the theatre might be spoken of her good gifts, she would find the ravished my young heart; and amidst the goodly com- days too short for expediting any other business. The pany of spectators, I beheld, afar off, with dazzled most her subjects can do with their praise is, to thrust sight, beauties who seemed to outparagon Cleopatra of it upon her by snatches; and, as Jupiter is said to have Egypt. Some of these primitive fooleries were after had a small trap-door in heaven, through which, when wards woven into Romeo and Juliet.

open, ascended the foolish prayers and vows of manBacon. Your Julius Cæsar and your Richard the kind, so might her majesty's presence-room be provided Third please me better. From my youth upward I with a golden funnel for receiving the incense of those have had a brain politic and discriminative, and less innumerable worshippers, whose hearts are full of her, prone to marvelling and dreaming than to scrutiny. although their quality enables them not to approach Some part of my juvenile time was spent at the court her person. of France, with our ambassador, Sir" Amias Paulet; Bacon. Walk this way, Mr. Shakspeare. The and, to speak the truth, although I was surrounded by Queen's book is not to be found among ordinary classics, many dames of high birth and rare beauty, I carried oftener Machiavelli in my pocket than a book of madrigals, and heeded not although these wantons made sport of my grave and scholarlike demeanor. When they would draw me forth to an encounter of their wit, I paid them off with flatteries, till they forgot their aim SAMUEL JOHNSON AND DAVID HUME. in thinking of themselves. Michael Angelo said of painting, that she was jealous, and required the whole These two remarkable individuals, although contemman, undivided. I was aware how much more truly poraries, never came personally in contact. Dr. Johnthe same thing might be said of philosophy, and there- son was looked upon by his friends as the colloquial fore cared not how much the ruddy complexion of my champion of England; and probably the exultation youth was sullied over the midnight lamp, or my out- which they felt in seeing him thrash every opponent, ward comeliness sacrificed to my inward advancement. could have received little addition, except from betting.

Shakspeare. The student's brain is fed at the expense If they had met, David Hume would probably have of his body; and I suspect that human nature is like a declined the contest. There is something extremely Frenchman's lace ;-there is not enough of it to be ludicrous in this headlong pugnacity, when manifested pulled out both at the neck and the sleeves.

by an individual who is supposed to make reflection Bacon. What you observe is in part true. Yet if his business; and Dr. Johnson seems to have been the we look back upon ancient times, we shall find excep- only modern philosopher whose propensities were likely tions. Plato's body was as large and beautiful as that to have revived those scenes described by Lucian, in his of any unthinking Greek; and so also was the body of Banquet and other pieces. This was not altogether Pythagoras, whom men had almost deified for his con- owing to bigotry. His character seems to have been ori. junct perfection of mind and person. To mention ginally endowed with an overplus of the noble spirit of Alcibiades, Epaminondas, Cæsar, and others, would be resistance; so that even had his temperament been less unseasonable; since, although these men had ability morbidly irritable, and his prejudices less inveterate, he enough for the great advancement of their own or their would still have betrayed an inclination to push against country's fortunes, the same portion might have gone the movements of other minds. Upon the whole, it is but a small way toward the extension of knowledge in probable that the cultivation of his conversational pow. general. But here we touch upon the distinction be- ers was not favorable to his powers of composition, [ween understanding and those energies which are ne- because it habituated him to seek less after truth in its cessary for the conduct of affairs.

substantive form than truth corrective of error, and to Shakspeare. Speaking of bodily habitudes, is it true throw his thoughts into such a form as could be most that your lordship swoons whenever the moon is eclipsed, conveniently used in argument. Although gifted with even though unaware of what is then passing in the great powers, both of observation and reflection, he heavens ?

passed his life in too great a ferment ever to make any Bacon. No more true, than that the moon eclipses regular philosophical use of them. He was full of those whenever I swoon.

stormy and untoward energies peculiar to the English Shakspeare. I had it from your chaplain, my lord. character, and would have required something to wreak

Bacon. My chaplain is a worthy man; he has so himself upon, before he sat down to reflect. great a veneration for me, that he wishes to find mar. This English restiveness and untowardness, with vels in the common accidents of my life.

which the Doctor was somewhat too much impregnated, Shakspeare. The same chaplain also told me, that a makes a ridiculous figure in literature, but constitutes certain arch in Trinity College, Cambridge, would stand a very important element when introduced into active until a greater man than your lordship should pass life. "It is in a great measure a blind element; but in through it.

the political dissensions of a free country, it is a far Bacon. Did you ever pass through it, Mr. Shak- safer one than the scheming and mischievous propensispeare ?

ties of personal vanity and ambition. It is a quality Shakspeare. No, my lord. I never was at Cam- which rather inclines sturdily to keep its own place, bridge.

than to join in a scramble. Bacon. Then we cannot yet decide which of us two David Hume's temperament was well calculated for is the greater man. I am told that most of the profes- a philosopher of the Aristotelian class; that is to say, sors there pass under the arch without fear, which in one who founds his reasonings upon experience, and deed shows a wise contempt of the superstition. upon the knowledge gathered by the senses. His whole

Shakspeare. I rejoice to think that the world is yet constitution seems to have been uncommonly sedate to have a greater man than your lordship, since the and tranquil, and no part of it much alive or awake, arch must fall at last.

but his understanding. Most of the errors of his phiBacon. You say well, Mr. Shakspeare; and, now, I losophy, perhaps, arose from his overlooking elements

of human nature which were torpid within himself, and, and concisely, and in making the taste for reflection which could not be learnt by the mere external observer more popular than it was before. of mankind. He knew more of the virtues in their Johnson had certainly more of what is commonly practical results, than he knew of them as sentiments; called genius than Hume. Possessing a stronger imaand his theory of utility resembles that explanation of gination and warmer feelings, it would have been less musical concords which modern physics have enabled difficult for him than for the skeptic to have mounted us to draw from the vibrations of the atmosphere, but into the regions of poetry; as may be seen in his tale which is merely an external supplement to the musical of Anningait and Ajut, and some other pieces. Hume faculty within us, which judges of the harmony of is said to have composed verses in his youth, which sounds by totally different means.

would probably be written in imitation of the coldest The coldness of David Hume's character enabled and most artificial models. Although Johnson had him to shake off all vulgar peculiarities of thought and imagination, there was no native grace or elegance in feeling, and to ascend into the regions of pure and clas- his mind, to guide him in forming poetical combinasical intellect. No English writer delivers his remarks tions; and perhaps there is not in any English book a with so much grace. The taste which he followed in more clumsy and ungainly conception than that of the his compositions was founded upon the most generalized Happy Valley in Rasselas. Any thing that Hume principles, and the most extended considerations of had, beyond pure intellect, seems to have been a turn propriety; and the consequence is, that they possess a for pleasantry, which his strict taste prevented him beauty which, whatever may be the fluctuations of from ever obtruding gratuitously upon the reader. human opinion, will never decay. He was utterly be During the time when these men flourished, it may yond the contagion of contemporary notions, and seems be safely averred, that the influence of intellect was io have habituated himself io write as addressing a completely predominant over that of genius in this remote posterity, in whose eyes the notions which du country. "No great poet arose, who produced moral ring his time had stirred and impelled the world, would impressions fit to be weighed against the speculative perhaps be considered as the mere infatuations of igno: calculations to which the times were giving birth. rance and barbarism. The worthy David is entitled to less credit for those passages where he seems impressed with a belief thai his own writings might continue to be perused at some future era, when chris. tianity would only be remembered as an exploded superstition. However, there was perhaps more

ODE. skepticism than vanity in this. His writings are elaborately perspicuous. He thought he saw the foun. Among the happiest specimens of modern Latinity, is Dr. dations of all human opinions sliding so ist, that he Johnson's ode to Mrs. Thrale, from the Island of Skye. It be. was determined to give his own works as fair a chance gins,

“Permeo terras ubi nuda rupes, as possible of being understood, if they survived the wreck.

Saxeas miscet nebulis ruinas,” &c. David Hume had too little personal character about Sir Walter Scott says that he landed some years ago on Skye him, to bear the marks of any particular nation. The with a party of friends, and had the curiosity to inquire what sedate self-possession for which he was remarkable, was the first idea on every one's mind at landing. All answered has sometimes, however, been ascribed to Scotsmen in separately it was this ode. If the following translation, which general, and his countrymen have always been notori- makes no attempt to give a conception of the extreme elegance ous for dialectical propensities. It is remarkable, that of the original, shall direct to it the attention of any of your no particular intellectual faculty has ever been set down classical readers, whose recollection it may have eecaped, you as predominating in the English composition. Her great will be rewarded for the space it fills. men have excelled in every different way, both in isolated faculties and in the aggregation of them. English.

FROM THE ISLE OF SKYE. men have long been the first, both in delighting and instructing the nations; but owing to constitutional I tread the land where rocks piled high causes, they have also, like Dr. Johnson, been the most

In gloomy ruins threat the sky, miserable of mankind. Dr. Johnson thought that all

Whose clime unblest and sterile soil foreigners were comparatively fools. If we compare the lives of Hume and Johnson, we

Deride the famish'd laborer's toil. find Hume spending his years in a manner well enough Among fierce highland clans I stray, suited for the cultivation of his metaphysical powers, Where science sheds no cheerful ray, but too secluded, and too much at ease, to make him

Where rags and squalid want are found practically acquainted with human passions. In all his writings, Hume appears as a philosophical spectator,

Within their smoking hovels round. capable of estimating the wisdom or folly of men's

While thus o'er regions wild and drear, conduct in relation to external circumstances, and of Remote I roam, condemned to hear prognosticating its result; but not very capable of An unknown tongue's discordant noise, entering sympathetically into their feelings, or of strong. I meditate what now employs ly conceiving the impulses by which they are guided.

Sweet Thralia's hours. With kindest smile Johnson had better opportunitics of observation, of which we see the products in his writings; and he

Does she her husband's cares beguile, might have observed still better, had his attention not While round her feet her children play, been so often engrossed by the fermentation of absurd And love and gladness fill the day? prejudices in his own mind. He was generally more

Or, anxious novelty to find, anxious to know whether a man was a whig in politics,

From various books adorns her mind ? or a high-churchman, or a dissenter, than to understand the mechanism which had been implanted in the indi

Whate'er thy joys—be sacred yet vidual by nature.

Thy plighted friendship, nor forget Johnson, during his lifetime, enjoyed more fame than The bard whose wandering muse still true, Hume, and more personal authority in the world of

In all her wanderings turns to you, letters. His growling was heard all over Parnassus. The influence he had on English literature consisted,

So shall thy rocks, O Skye, proclaim not in disseminating any new system of opinions, but To murmuring surges Thralia's name. in teaching his countrymen how to reason luminously Richmond, Va., Jan, 1838.

« السابقةمتابعة »