« AnteriorContinuar »
the same hour she saw a figure at the foot of her bed, which she identified with him, and minutely described to the bystanders, during the continuance of the vision. The husband returned, and previous to the meeting, was advised to appear for the first time at the foot of the bed, at the precise instant that the spirit used to appear, and in the dress described, in the hope that the original might scare away the counterfeit; or, to speak more seriously, in the expectation that the impression on her senses from without would meet half-way, as it were, and repel, or take the place of, the image from the brain. He followed the advice; but the moment he took his position, the lady shrieked out, "My God! there are two! and" The story is an old one, and you may end it, happily or tragically, Tate's King Lear or Shakespeare's, according to your taste. I have brought it as a good instance of the force of the two words. You and I would hold the one for a subjective phenomenon, the other only for objective, and perhars illustrate the fact, as I have already done elsewhere, by the case of two appearances seen in juxta-position, the one by transmitted, and the other by reflected, light. A believer, according to the old style, whose almanack of faith has the one trifling fault of being for the year of our Lord one thousand four, instead of one thousand eight hundred and twenty,
would stickle for the objectivity of both.*
Andrew Baxter, again, would take a different road from either. He would agree with us in calling the apparition subjective, and the figure of the husband objective, so far as the ubi of the latter, and its position extra cerebrum, or in outward spaces, was in question. But he would differ from us in not identifying the agent or proper cause of the former-i. e. the apparition-with the subject beholding. The shape beheld he would grant to be a making in the beholder's own brain; but the facient, he would contend, was a several and other subject, an intrusive supernumerary or squatter in the same tenement and work-shop, and working with the same tools (gyava,) as the subject, their rightful owner and original occupant. And verily, I could say something in favour of this theory, if only I might put my own interpretation on ithaving been hugely pleased with the notion of that father of oddities, and oddest of the fathers, old TERTULLIAN, who considers these soggetti cattivi, (that take possession of other folk's kitchens, pantries, sculleries, and water-closets, causing a sad to-do at headquarters,) as creatures of the same order with the Tæniæ, Lumbrici, and Ascarides-i. e. the Round, Tape, and Thread-worms. Dæmones hæc sua corpora dilatant et contrahunt ut volunt, sicut Lumbrici et alia quædam
Nay, and relate the circumstance for the very purpose of proving the reality or objective truth of ghosts. For the lady saw both! But if this were any proof at all, it would at best be a superfluous proof, and superseded by the bed-posts, &c. For if she saw the real posts at the same time with the ghost, that stood betwixt them, or rather if she continued to see the ghost, spite of the sight of these, how should she not see the real husband? What was to make the difference between the two solids, or intercept the rays from the husband's dressing-gown, while it allowed free passage to those from the bed-curtain? And yet I first heard this story from one, who, though professedly an unbeliever in this branch of ancient Pneumatics, (which stood, however, a nitch higher, I suspect, in his good opinion, than Monboddo's ancient Metaphysics,) adduced it as a something on the other side!—A puzzling fact! and challenged me to answer it. And this, too, was a man no less respectable for talents, education, and active sound sense, than for birth, fortune, and official rank. So strangely are the healthiest judgments suspended by any out-of the way combinations, connected with obscure feelings and inferences, when they happen to have occurred within the narrator's own knowledge ! The pith of this argument in support of ghost-objects, stands thus: B=D: C=D; ergo, B=C. The D, in this instance, being the equal visibility of the figure, and of its real duplicate, a logic that would entitle the logician to dine off a neck of mutton in a looking-glass, and to set his little ones in downright earnest to hunt the rabbits on the wall by candle-light. Things, that fall under the same definition, belong to the same class; and visible, yet not tangible, is the generic character of reflections, shadows, and ghosts; and apparitions, their common, and most certainly their proper, Christian name.
insecta. Be this as it may, the difference between this last class of speculators and the common run of ghostfanciers, will scarcely enable us to exhibit any essential change in the meaning of the terms. Both must be described as asserting the objective nature of the appearance, and in both the term contains the sense of real as opposed to imaginary, and of outness no less than of otherness, the difference in the former being only, that, in the vulgar belief, the object is outward in relation to the whole circle, in Baxter's to the centre only. The one places the ghost without, the other within, the line of circumference.
I have only to add, that these different shades of meaning form no valid objection to the revival and readoption of these correlative terms in physiology* and mental analytics, as expressing the two poles of all consciousness, in their most general form and highest abstraction. For by the law of association, the same metaphorical changes, or shiftings and ingraftings of the primary sense, must inevitably take place in all terms of greatest comprehensiveness and simplicity. 1 Instead of subject and object, put thought and thing. You will find these liable to the same inconveniences, with the additional one of having no adjectives or adverbs, as substitutes for objective, subjective, objectively, subjectively. It is sufficient that no heterogeneous senses are confounded under the same term, as was the case prior to Bishop Bramhall's controversy with Hobbes, who had availed himself of the (at that time, and in the common usage,) equivalent words, compel and oblige, to confound the thought of moral obligation with that of compulsion and physical necessity. For the rest, the remedy must be provided by a dictionary, constructed on the one only philosophical principle, which, regarding words as living growths, offsets, and organs of the human soul, seeks to trace each historically, through all the periods of its natural growth, and
accidental modifications--a work wor thy of a Royal and Imperial confederacy, and which would indeed hallow the Alliance! A work which, executed for any one language, would yet be a benefaction to the world, and to the nation itself a source of immediate honour and of ultimate weal, beyond the power of victories to bestow, or the mines of Mexico to purchase. The realization of this scheme lies in the far distance; but in the mean time, it cannot but beseem every individual competent to its further ance, to contribute a small portion of the materials for the future temple from a polished column to a hewn stone, or a plank for the scaffolding; and as they come in, to erect with them sheds for the workmen, and temporary structures for present use. The preceding analysis I would have you regard as my first contribution; and the first, because I have been long convinced that the want of it is a serious impediment-I will not say, to that self-knowledge which it concerns all men to attain, but-to that self-understanding, or insight, which it is all men's interest that some men should acquire;,that the heaven-descended, rv autor," (Juv. Sat.) should exist not only as a wisdom, but as a science. But every science will have its rules of art, and with these its technical terms; and in this best of sciences, its elder nomenclature has fallen into disuse, and no other been put in its place. To bring these back into light, as so many delving-tools dug up from the rubbish of long-deserted mines, and at the same time to exemplify their use and handling, I have drawn your attention to the three questions:What is the primary and proper sense of the words Subject and Object, in the technical language of philosophy? In what does Objectivity actually exist? From what is all apparent or assumed Objectivity derived or transferred?
It is not the age, you have told me, to bring hard words into fashion. Are
"Physiology," according to present usage, treats of the laws, organs, functions, &c. of life; "Physics" not so. Now, quere: The etymological import of the two words being the same, is the difference in their application accidental and arbitrary, or a hidden irony at the assumption on which the division is grounded? Qui aveu (wns, ανευ λογο, οι λογος περι Φυσεως μη ζώσης εςι λόγος αλογος.
(as our great living master of sweet
number is on the increase,) I hazard this assurance,-That let what will come of the terms, yet without the truths conveyed in these terms, there can be no self-knowledge; and without THIS, no knowledge of any kind. For the fragmentary recollections and recognitions of empiricism,* usurping the name of experience, can amount to opinion only, and that alone is knowledge which is at once real and systematic-or, in one word, organic. Let monk and pietist pervert the precept into sickly, brooding, and morbid introversions of consciousness—you have learnt, that, even under the wisest regulations, THINKING can go but half way toward this knowledge. To know the whole truth, we must likewise ACT: and he alone acts, who makes-and this can no man do, estranged from Nature. Learn to know thyself in Nature, that thou mayest understand Nature in thyself.
But I forget myself. My pledge and purpose was to help you over the threshold into the outer court; and here I stand, spelling the dim characters inwoven in the veil of Isis, in the recesses of the temple.
I must conclude, therefore, if only to begin again without too abrupt a drop, lest I should remind you of Mr in his Survey of Middlesex, who having digressed, for some half a score of pages, into the heights of cosmogony, the old planet between Jupiter and four new ones, besides the smaller Mars, that went off, and split into the rubbish for stone showers, the formation of the galaxy, and the other worldworlds, on the same principles, and by similar accidents, superseding the hypothesis of a Creator, and demonstraand country parsons, takes up the ting the superfluity of church tithes stitch again with-But to return to the subject of dung. God bless you and
S. T. COLEridge.
* Let y express the conditions under which E, (that is, a series of forms, facts, circumstances, &c. presented to the senses of an individual,) will become Experience and we might, not unaptly, define the two words thus: E+y=Experience; E-y= Empiricism.
To Mr Blackwood.
curiosity. Such may be, and in some instances, I doubt not, has been, the result. But I dare not answer for it beforehand, even though both works should be equally well suited to their several purposes, which will not be thought a probable case, when it is considered, how much less talent, and of how much commoner a kind, is required in the latter.
On the other hand, however, I am persuaded that a sufficient success, and less liable to draw-backs from competition, would not fail to attend a work on the former plan, if the scheme and execution of the contents were as ap
chasers must be supposed to have in view, as the means adopted for its outward attraction and its general circulation were to the interest of its proprietors.
DEAR SIR,-Here have I been sit ting, this whole long-lagging, muzzy, mizly morning, struggling without success against the insuperable disgust I feel to the task of explaining the abrupt chasm at the outset of our correspondence, and disposed to let your verdict take its course, rather than suffer over again by detailing the causes of the stoppage; though sure by so doing to acquit my will of all share in the result. Instead of myself, and of you, my dear sir, in relation to myself, I have been thinking, first, of the Edinburgh Magazine; then of magazines generally and comparatively then of a magazine in the abstract;-propriate to the object, which the purand lastly, of the immense importance and yet strange neglect of that prime dictate of prudence and common sense -DISTINCT MEANS TO DISTINCT ENDS. But here I must put in one proviso, not in any relation though to the aphorism itself, which is of universal validity, but relatively to my intended application of it. I must assume-I mean, that the individuals disposed to grant me free access and fair audience for my remarks, have a conscience-such a portion at least, as being eked out with superstition and sense of character, will suffice to prevent them from seeking to realize the ultimate end, (i. e. the maxim of profit) by base or disreputable means. This, therefore, may be left out of the present argument, an extensive sale being the common object of all publishers, of whatever kind the publications may be, morally considered. Nor do the means appropriate to this end differ. Be the work good or evil in its tendency, in both cases alike there is one question to be predetermined, viz. what class or classes of the reading world the work is intended for? I made the proviso, however, because I would not mislead any man even for an honest cause, and my experience will not allow me to promise an equal immediate circulation from a work addressed to the higher interests and blameless predilections of men, as from one constructed on the plan of flattering the envy and vanity of sciolism, and gratifying the cravings of vulgar
During a long literary life, I have been no inattentive observer of periodical publications; and I can remember no failure, in any work deserving success, that might not have been antici pated from some error or deficiency in the means, either in regard to the mode of circulating the work, (as for instance by the vain attempt to unite the characters of author, editor, and publisher,) or to the typographical appear ance; or else from its want of suitableness to the class of readers, on whom, it should have been foreseen, the remunerating sale must principally depend. It would be misanthropy to suppose that the seekers after truth, information, and innocent amusement, are not sufficiently numerous to support a work, in which these attractions are prominent, without the dishonest aid of personality, literary faction, or treacherous invasions of the sacred recesses of private life, without slanders, which both reason and duty command us to disbelieve as well as abhor; for what but falsehood, or that half truth, which is falsehood in its most malignant form, can or ought to be expected from a self-convicted traitor and ingrate?
If these remarks are well founded, we may narrow the problem to the few following terms,-it being understood,
that the work now in question, is a monthly publication, not devoted to any one branch of knowledge or literature, but a magazine of whatever may be supposed to interest readers in general, not excluding the discoveries, or even the speculations of science, that are generallyintelligible and interesting, so that the portion devoted to any one subject or department, shall be kept proportionate to the number of readers for whom it may be supposed to have a particular interest. Here, however, we must not forget, that however few the actual dilettanti, or men of the fancy may be, yet, as long as the articles remain generally intelligible, (in pugilism, for instance,) Variety and Novelty communicate an attraction that interests all. Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum. If to this we add the exclusion of theological controversy, which is endless, I shall have pretty accurately described the present EDINBURGH MAGAZINE, as to its characteristic plan and purposes; which may, I think, be comprised in three terms, as a Philosophical, Philological,
and Esthetic Miscellany. The word miscellany, however, must be taken as involving a predicate in itself, in addition to the three preceding epithets, comprehending, namely, all the ephemeral births of intellectual life, which add to the gaiety and variety of the work, without interfering with its express and regular objects.
Having thus a sufficiently definite notion of what your Magazine is, and is intended to be, I proposed to myself, as a problem, to find out, in detail, what the means would be to the most perfect attainment of this end. In other words, what the scheme, and of what nature, and in what order and proportion, the contents should be of a monthly publication; in order for it to verify the title of a Philosophical, Philological, and Esthetic Miscellany and Magazine. The result of my lucubrations I hope to forward in my next, under the title of " The Ideal of a Magazine;" and to mark those departments, in the filling up of which, I flatter myself with the prospect of being a fellow labourer. But since I
* I wish I could find a more familiar word than æsthetic, for works of taste and criticism. It is, however, in all respects better, and of more reputable origin, than belletristic. To be sure, there is tasty; but that has been long ago emasculated for all unworthy uses by milliners, tailors, and the androgynous correlatives of both, formerly called its, and now yclept dandies. As our language, therefore, contains no other useable adjective, to express that coincidence of form, feeling, and intellect, that something, which, confirming the inner and the outward senses, becomes a new sense in itself, to be tried by laws of its own, and acknowledging the laws of the understanding so far only as not to contradict them; that faculty which, when possessed in a high degree, the Greeks termed pλonania, but when spoken of generally, or in kind only, To dicentinov; and for which even our substantive, Taste, is a--not inappropriate--but very inadequate metaphor; there is reason to hope, that the term aesthetic, will be brought into common use as soon as distinct thoughts and definite expressions shall once more become the requisite accomplishment of a gentleman. So it was in the energetic days, and in the starry court of our English-hearted Eliza; when trade, the nurse of freedom, was the enlivening counterpoise of agriculture, not its alien and usurping spirit; when commerce had all the enterprize, and more than the romance of war; when the precise yet pregnant terminology of the schools gave bone and muscle to the diction of poetry and eloquence, and received from them in return passion and harmony; but, above all, when from the self-evident truth, that what in kind constitutes the superiority of man to animal, the same in degree must constitute the superiority of men to each other, the practical inference was drawn, that every proof of these distinctive faculties being in a tense and active state, that even the sparks and crackling of mental electricity, in the sportive approaches and collisions of ordinary intercourse, (such as we have in the wit-combats of Benedict and Beatrice, of Mercutio, and in the dialogues assigned to courtiers and gentlemen, by all the dramatic writers of that reign,) are stronger indications of natural superiority, and, therefore, more becoming signs and accompaniments of artificial rank, than apathy, studied mediocrity, and the ostentation of wealth. When I think of the vigour and felicity of style characteristic of the age, from Edward VI. to the restoration of Charles, and observable in the letters and family memoirs of noble families--take, for instance, the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, written by his widow-I cannot suppress the wish-- that the habits of those days could return, even though they should bring pedantry and Euphuism in their train!