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and pregnant symbols--the advantages You did not know my revered friend of this, my dear D., are so many, and and patron; or rather, you do know the so important, so eminently calculated man, and mourn his loss, from the chato excite and evolve the power of sound racter I have * lately given of him.and connected reasoning, of distinct The following supposed dialogue actuand clear conception, and of genial feel- ally took place, in a conversation with ing, that there are few of W's finest him; and as in part, an illustration of passages—and who, of living poets, can what I have already said, and in part lay claim to half the number? -that I as text and introduction to much I repeat so often, as that homely qua- would wish to say, I entreat you to read train,
it with patience, spite of the triviality O reader ! had
of the subject, and mock-heroic of the mind
your Such stores as silent thought can bring ;
title. O gentle reader! you would find
Å tale in every thing.
SUBSTANCE OF A DIALOGUE, WITH A COMMENTARY ON THE SAME.
A. I never found yet, an ink-stand ed, or made of such stuff, that in case that I was satisfied with.
of a blow or a fall from any common B.What would you have an ink-stand height, the ink-stand itself will not be to be? What qualities and properties broken ;-that from both these qualiwould you wish to have combined in ties, and from its shape, it may be safean ink-stand ? Keflect ! Consult your ly and commodiously travelled with, past experience; taking care, however, and packed up with books, linen, or not to desire things demonstrably, or whatever else is likely to form the conself-evidently incompatible with each tents of the portmanteau, or travelling other; and the union of these desideru- trunk;—that it should stand steadily ta will be your ideal of an ink-stand. and commodiously, and be of as pleaA friend, perhaps, suggests some addi- sing a shape and appearance as is comtional excellence that might rationally patible with its more important uses; be desired, till at length the catalogue -and, lastly, though of minor regard, may be considered as complete, when and non-essential, that it be capable of neither yourself, nor others, can think including other implements or requiof any desideratum not anticipated or sites, always, or occasionally connectprecluded by some one or more of the ed with the art of writing, as pen-knife, points already enumerated ; and the wafers, &c. without any addition to the conception of all these, as realized in size and weight, otherwise desirable, one and the same artefact, may be fair- and without detriment to its more imly entitled, the
portant and proper advantages. IDEAL of an Ink-stand.
Now, (continued B.) that we have an
adequate notion of what is to be wishThat the pen should be allowed, ed, let us try what is to be done! And without requiring any effort or inter- my friend actually succeeded in conruptive act of attention from the wri- structing an ink-stand, in which, duter, to dip sufficiently low, and yet be ring the twelve years that have elapsed prevented, without injuring its nib, since this conversation, alas ! I might from dipping too low, or taking up too almost say, since his death, I have nemuch ink : That the ink-stand should ver been able, though I have put my be of such materials as not to decom- wits on the stretch, to detect any thing pose the ink, or occasion a deposition wanting that an ink-stand could be raor discolouration of its specific ingre- tionally desired to possess; or even to dients, as, from what cause I know not, imagine any addition, detraction, or is the fault of the black Wedgewood- change, for use or appearance, that I ware ink-stands; that it should be so could desire, without involving a con-, constructed, that on being overturned, tradiction. the ink cannot escape ; and so protect- Here! (methinks I hear the reader
* In the 8th Number of the Friend, as first circulated by the post. I dare assert, that it is worthy of preservation, and will send a transcript in my next.
exclaim). Here's a meditation on a ordinary understanding, not under the broom-stick with a vengeance ! Now, same * cortagion of vanity as the wriin the first place, I am, and I do not ter. Besides, there are shallows for care who knows it, no enemy to me- the full-grown, that are the maximum ditations on broom-sticks; and though of safe depth for the younglings. There Boyle had been the real author of the are truths, quite common-pluce to you article so waggishly passed off for his on and me, that for the unconstructed poor Lady Berkley; and though that many would be new and full of wongood man had written. it in grave der, as the common day-light to the good earnest, I am not certain that he Lapland child at the re-ascension of its would not have been employing his second summer. Thanks and honour time as creditably to himself, and as in the highest to those stars of the first profitably for a large class of readers, magnitude that shoot their beams as the witty dean was while composing downward, and while in their proper the Draper's Letters, though the muses form they stir and invirtuate the forbid that I should say the same sphere next below them, and natures of Mary Cooke's Petition, Hamilton's pre-assimilated to their influence, yet Bawn, or even the rhyming corre- call forth likewise, each after its own spondence with Dr Sheridan. In ha- norm or model, whatever is best in zarding this confession, however, I beg whatever is susceptible to each, even leave to put in a provided always, that in the lowest. But, excepting these, the said Meditation on Broom-stick, I confess that seldom look at Haror aliud quidlibet ejusdem farinæ, shall vey's Meditations or Quarle's Embe as truly a meditation as the broom- blems, † without feeling that I would stick is verily a broom-stick-and that rather be the author of those books the name be not a misnomer of vanity, of the innocent pleasure, the purifying or fraudulently labelled on a mere emotions, and genial awakenings of compound of brain-dribble and print- the humanity through the whole man, er's ink. For meditation, I presume, which those books have given to thouis that act of the mind, by which it sands and tens of thousands—than seeks within either the law of the phe- shine the brightest in the constellation nomena, which it had contemplated of fame among the heroes and Dii miwithout, (meditatio scientifica,) or sem- nores of literature. But I have a bet. blances, symbols, and analogies, cor- ter excuse, and if not a better, yet a responsive to the same, (meditatio ethi- less general motive, for this solemn ca.) At all events, therefore, it implies trifling, as it will seem, and one that thinking, and tends to make the reader will, I trust, rescue my ideal of an think ; and whatever does this, does ink-stand from being doomed to the what in the present over-excited state same slut's corner with the de tribus of society is most wanted, though per- Capellis, or de umbra asini, by virtue haps least desired. Between the think- of the process which it exemplifies ; ing of a Harvey or Quarles, and the though I should not quarrel with the thinking of a Bacon or a Fenelon, allotment, if its risible merits allowed many are the degrees of difference, and it to keep company with the ideal immany the differences in degree of depth mortalized by Rabelais in his disquiand originality; but not such as to fill sition inquisitory De Rebus optime abup the chasm in genere between think- stergentibus. ing and no-thinking, or to render the Dared I mention the name of my discrimination difficult for a man of Idealizer, a name dear to science, and
* “ Verily, to ask, what meaneth this ? is no Herculean labour. And the reader languishes under the same vain-glory as his author, and hath laid his head on the other knee of Omphale, if he can mistake the thin vocables of incogitance for the consubstantial words which thought begetteth and goeth forth in."-Sir T. Brown, MSS.
+ A full collection, a Bibliotheca Specialis, of the books of emblems and symbols, of all sects and parties, moral, theological, or political, including those in the Centennaries and Jubilee volumes published by the Jesuit and other religious orders, is a desideratum in our library literature that would well employ the talents of our ingenious masters in wood-engraving, etching, and lithography, under the superintendance of a Dibdin, and not unworthy of royal and noble patronage, or the attention of a Longman and his compeers. Singly or jointly undertaken, it would do honour to these princely merchants in the service of the muses. What stores might not a Southey contribute as notes or interspersed prefaces ? I could dream away an hour on the subject.
consecrated by discoveries of far-ex- logic of method, the only true Orgie tending utility, it would at least give num Fleuristicum which possesses the a biogruphical interest to this trifling former and better half of knowledge in anecdote, and perhaps entitle me to itself as the science of wise questionclaim for it a yet higher, as a trait in ing, * and the other half in reversion, minimis, characteristic of a class of it was reserved for the Marquis of powerful and most beneficent intel- Worcester to see and have given into lects. For to the same process of his hands, from the alternation of exthought we owe whatever instruments pansion and vacuity, a power mightier of power
have been bestowed on man- than that of Vulcan and all his Cykind by science and genius; and only clops ; a power that found its practical such deserve the name of inventions or limit only where nature could supply discoveries. But even in those, which no limit strong enough to confine it
. chance may seem to claim,“que homini For the genial spirit, that saw what it obvenisse videantur potius quam homo had been seeking, and saw because it venire in ea”—which come to us rather sought, was it reserved in the dancing than we to them this process will lid of a kettle or coffee-urn, to behold most often be found as the indispensa- the future steam-engine, the Talus, ble antecedent
of the discovery-as the with whom the Britomart of science is condition, without which the suggest- now gone forth to subdue and humaning accident would have whispered to ize the planet! When the bodily organ, deaf ears, unnoticed; or, like the faces steadying itself on some chance thing, in the fire, or the landscapes made by imitates, as it were, the fixture of damp on a white-washed wall, noticed “the inward eye” on its ideal shapings, for their oddity alone. To the birth then it is that Nature not seldom reof the tree a prepared soil is as neces- veals her close affinity with mind, with sary as the falling seed. A Daniel was that more than man which is one and present; or the fatal characters in the the same in all men, and from which banquet-hall of Belshazzar might have struck more terror, but would have
56 the soul receives been of no more import than the trail
Reason: and reason is her being !" of a luminous worm. In the far great
Par. Lost. er number, indeed, of these asserted Then it is, that Nature, like an inboons of chance, it is the accident that dividual spirit or fellow soul, seems to should be called the condition—and think and hold commune with us. If, often not so much, but merely the oce in the present contempt of all mental casion--while the proper cause of the analysis not contained in Locke, Hartmvention is to be sought for in the co- ley, or Condillac, it were safe to borexisting state and previous habit of row from “scholastic lore” a technical the observer's mind. I cannot bring term or two, for which I have not yet myself to account for respiration from found any substitute equally convethe stimulus of the air, without ascri- nient and serviceable, I should say, bing to the specific stimulability of that at such moments Nature, as anthe lungs a yet more important part other subject veiled behind the visible in the joint product. To how many object without us, solicits the intellimyriads of individuals had not the rise gible object hid, and yet struggling and fall of the lid in a boiling kettle beneath the subject within us, and been familiar, an appearance daily and like a helping Lucina, brings it forth hourly in sight ? But it was reserved for us into distinct consciousness and for a mind that understood what was common light. Who has not tried to to be wished and knew what was want- get hold of some half-remembered ed in order to its fulfilment-for an name, mislaid as it were in the mearmed
eye, which meditation had made mory, and yet felt to be there ? And _contemplative, an eye armed from who has not experienced, how at
within, with an instrument of higher length it seems given to us, as if some powers than glasses can give, with the other unperceived had been employed
*“Prudens questio dimidium scientiæ,” says our Verulam, the second founder of the science, and the first who on principle applied it to the ideas in nature, as his great compeer Plato had before done to the laws in the mind.
iu the same search? And what are the containing a doctrine so repugnant to objects last spoken of, which are in the best feelings of humanity, as is the subject, (i. e. the individual mind) inculcated in the following passage, yet not subjective, but of universal among a hundred others to the same validity, no accidents of a particular purpose, in earlier and in more recent mind resulting from its individual works, sent forth by professed Chrisstructure, no, nor even of the human tians. “ Most of the men, who are mind, as a particular class or rank of now alive, or that have been living for intelligences, but of imperishable sub- many ages, are Jews, Heathens, or sistence; and though not things, (i.e. Mahometans, strangers and enemies shapes in outward space,) yet equally to Christ, in whose name alone we can independent of the beholder, and more be saved. This consideration is exthan equally real-—what, I say, are tremely sad, when we remember how those but the names of nature? the great an evil it is, that so many milnomina quasi vousva, opposed by the lions of sons and daughters are born to wisest of the Greek schools to pheno- enter into the possession of devils to mena, as the intelligible correspondents eternal ages.”—Taylor's Holy Dying,p. or correlatives in he mind to the in- 28. Even Sir T. Brown, while his heart visible supporter of the appearances is evidently wrestling with the dogma in the world of the senses, the uphold- grounded on the trivial interpretation ing powers that cannot be seen, but of the word, nevertheless receives it the presence and actual being of which in this sense, and expresses most gloomust be supposed-nay, will be sup- my apprehensions of the ends of posed, in defiance of every attempt to those honest worthies and philosothe contrary by a crude materialism, phers,” who died before the birth of so alien from humanity, that there our Saviour : “ It is hard,” says he, does not exist a language on earth, in “ to place those souls in hell
, whose which it could be conveyed without a worthy lives did teach us virtue on contradiction between the sense, and earth. How strange to them will the words employed to express it! sound the history of Adam, when they
Is this a mere random flight in ety- shall suffer for him they never heard mology, hunting a bubble, and bring- of!" Yet he concludes by condemning back the film ? I cannot think so ing the insolence of reason in daring contemptuously of the attempt to fix to doubt or controvert the verity of the and restore the true import of any doctrine, or “to question the justice word; but, in this instance, I should of the proceeding," which verity, he regard it as neither unprofitable, nor fears, the woeful lot of “these great devoid of rational interest, were it only examples of virtue must confirm.' that the knowledge and reception of But here I must break off. the import here given, as the etymon,
Your's most affectionately, or genuine sense of the word, would save Christianity from the reproach of
S. T. COLERIDGE. LETTER V.
To the Same. MY DEAR D.-The philosophic poet, to the habit of tracing the presence whom I quoted in my last, may here of the high in the humble, the mysteand there have stretched his preroga- rious Dii Cabiri, in the form of the tive in a war of offence on the general dwarf Miner, with hammer and spade, associations of his contemporaries. and week-day apron, we must attriHere and there, though less than the bute Wordsworth’s peculiar power, his least of what the Buffoons of parody, leavening influence on the opinions, and the Zanies of anonymous criti- feelings, and pursuits of his admirers, cism, would have us believe, he may - most on the young of most promise be thought to betray a preference of and highest acquirements; and that, mean or trivial instances for grand while others are read with delight, his morals, a capricious predilection for works are a religion. A case still more incidents that contrast with the depth in point occurs to me, and for the truth and novelty of the truths they are to of which I dare pledge myself. The exemplify. But still to the principle, art of printing alone seems to have VOL. X.
been privileged with a Minerval birth, form, in its coincidence with the idea, to have risen in its zenith ; but next or realize most adequately that power, to this, perhaps, the rapid and almost which is one with its correspondent instantaneous advancement of pottery knowledge, as the revealing body with from the state in which Mr Wedge- its indwelling soul. wood found the art, to its demonstra- Another motive will present itself, bly highest practicable perfection, is and one that comes nearer home, and the most striking fact in the history of is of more general application, if we modern improvements achieved by in- reflect on the habit here recommended, dividual genius. In his early manhood, as a source of support and consolation an obstinate and harassing complaint in circumstances under which we might confined him to his room for more than otherwise sink back on ourselves, and two years; and to this apparent cala- for want of colloquy with our thoughts, mity Mr Wedgewood was wont to at- with the objects and presentations of tribute his after unprecedented suc- the inner sense, lie listening to the fretcess. For a while, as was natural, the ful ticking of our sensations. A resense of thus losing the prime and source of costless value has that man, vigour of his life and faculties, preyed who has brought himself to a habit of on his mind incessantly-aggravated, measuring the objeces around him by no doubt, by the thought of what he their intended or possible ends, and should have been doing this hour and the proportion in which this end is this, had he not been thus severely realized in each. It is the neglect of visited. Then, what he should like to thus educating the senses, of thus dis take in hand ; and lastly, what it was ciplining, and, in the proper and pridesirable to do, and how far it might mitive sense of the word, informing be done, till generalizing more and the fancy, that distinguishes at first more, the mind began to feed on the sight the ruder states of society. Every thoughts, which, at their first evolu- mechanic tool, the commonest and tion, (in their larva state, may I say?) most indispensible implements of agrihad preyed on the mind. We imagine culture, might remind one of the the presence of what we desire in the school-boy's second stage in metrical very act of regretting its absence, nay, composition, in which his exercise is to in order to regret it the more livelily: contain sense, but he is allowed to eke but while, with a strange wilfulness, out the scanning by the interposition, we are thus engendering grief on grief, here and there, of an equal quantity of nature makes use of the product to nonsense. And even in the existing cheat us into comfort and exertion. height of national civilization, how The positive shapings, though but of many individuals may there not be the fancy, will sooner or later displace found, for whose senses the non-essenthe mere knowledge of the negative. tial so preponderates, that though they All activity is in itself pleasure ; and may have lived the greater part of according to the nature, powers, and their lives in the country, yet, with previous habits of the sufferer, the some exceptions for the products of activity of the fancy will call the other their own Aower and kitchen garden, faculties of the soul into action. The all the names in the Index to Wither self-contemplative power becomes me- ing's Botany, are superseded for them ditative, and the mind begins to play by the one name, a weed! “ It is only the geometrician with its own thoughts a weed !" And if this indifference stopt -abstracting from them the accidental here, and this particular ignorance and individual, till a new and unfail- were regarded as the disease, it would ing source of employment, the best be sickly to complain of it. But it is as and surest nepentha of solitary pain, a symptom that it excites regret-it is is opened out in the habit of seeking that, except only the pot-herbs of the principle and ultimate aim in the lucre, and the barren double-flowers most imperfect productions of art, in of vanity, their own noblest faculties the least attractive products of nature; both of thought and action, are but of beholding the possible in the real; weeds in which, should sickness or of detecting the essential form in the misfortune wreck them on the desart intentional; above all, in the colla- island of their own mind, they would tion and constructive imagining of the either not think of seeking, or be iga outward shapes and material forces norant how to find, nourishment or that shall best express the essential medicine. As it is good to be provided