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state of pleasurable excitement. This, tions of periphrastic expressions, as equivahowever, is a misrepresentation of (10 lents for modern ideas, images, relations
True it is, that for nearly ten of things, etc., gave me a compass of dicyears I did occasionally take opium for tion which would never have been called the sake of the exquisite pleasure it gave out by a dull translation of moral essays, me: but, so long as I took it with this etc. “That boy,” said one of my masters, view, I was effectually protected from pointing the attention of a stranger all material bad consequences, by the to me, “that boy could harangue 170 necessity of interposing long intervals an Athenian mob, better than you and between the several acts of indulgence, I could address an English one." He in order to renew the pleasurable sensa- who honored me with this eulogy was a tions. It was not for the purpose of (20 scholar, “and a ripe and good one;" and creating pleasure, but of mitigating pain of all my tutors, was the only one whom in the severest degree, that I first began | I loved or reverenced. Unfortunately to use opium as an article of daily diet. for me (and, as I afterwards learned, to In the twenty-eighth year of my age, this worthy man's great indignation) I was a most painful affection of the stomach, transferred to the care, first of a blockwhich I had first experienced about ten head, who was in a perpetual panic (80 years before,attacked me in great strength. lest I should expose his ignorance; and This affection had originally been caused finally, to that of a respectable scholar, by extremities of hunger, suffered in my at the head of a great school on an ancient boyish days. During the season of (30 foundation. This man had been appointed hope and redundant happiness which to his situation by College, Oxford; succeeded (that is, from eighteen to and was a sound, well-built scholar, but twenty-four) it had slumbered; for the like most men whom I have known three following years it had revived at from that college, coarse, clumsy, and intervals; and now, under unfavorable inelegant. A miserable contrast he precircumstances, from depression of spirits, sented, in my eyes, to the Etonian bril- (00 it attacked me with a violence that yielded liancy of my favorite master; and beto no remedies but opium. As the youth- sides, he could not disguise from my ful sufferings, which first produced this hourly notice, the poverty and meagerderangement of the stomach, were in- 140 ness of his understanding. It is a bad teresting in themselves, and in the cir- thing for a boy to be, and to know himself, cumstances that attended them, I shall far beyond his tutors, whether in knowlhere briefly retrace them.
edge or in power of mind. This was the My father died when I was about seven case, so far as regarded knowledge at least, years old, and left me to the care of four not with myself only; for the two boys guardians. I was sent to various schools, who jointly with myself composed (100 great and small; and was very early dis- the first form were better Grecians than tinguished for my classical attainments, the head-master, though not more ele especially for my knowledge of Greek gant scholars, nor at all more accustomed At thirteen I wrote Greek with ease; (50 to sacrifice to the graces. When I first and at fifteen my command of that lan- entered, I remember that we read Sophguage was so great, that I not only com- ocles; and it was a constant matter of posed Greek verses in lyric meters, but triumph to us, the learned triumvirate could converse in Greek fluently and of the first form, to see our
“Archididaswithout embarrassment-an accomplish- calus," as he loved to be called, conning ment which I have not since met with in our lessons before we went up, and (110 any scholar of my times, and which, in laying a regular train, with lexicon and my case, was owing to the practice of grammar, for blowing up and blasting, as daily reading off the newspapers into the it were, any difficulties he found in the best Greek I could furnish extempore; (60 choruses; whilst we never condescended for the necessity of ransacking my memory to open our books until the moment of and invention, for all sorts and combina- going up, and were generally employed
in writing epigrams upon his wig, or some one's power, the spirit of hope and pleassuch important matter. My two class- ure makes it virtually infinite. fellows were poor, and dependent for It is a just remark of Dr. Johnson's, their future prospects at the univer- (120 and, what cannot often be said of his resity on the recommendation of the head- marks, it is a very feeling one, that we master; but I, who had a small patri- never do anything consciously for the monial property, the income of which last time of things, that is, which we was sufficient to support me at college, have long been in the habit of doingwished to be sent thither immediately. without sadness of heart. This truth I I made earnest representations on the felt deeply, when I came to leave (180 subject to my guardians, but all to no a place which I did not love, and where purpose. One, who was more reasonable, I had not been happy. On the evening and had more knowledge of the world before I left forever, I grieved when than the rest, lived at a distance; two (130 the ancient and lofty school-room reof the other three resigned all their au- sounded with the evening service, perthority into the hands of the fourth; formed for the last time in my hearing, and this fourth with whom I had to ne- and at night, when the muster-roll of gotiate, was a worthy man, in his way, names was called over, and mine, as but haughty, obstinate, and intolerant usual, was called first, I stepped forward, of all opposition to his will. After a and, passing the head-master, who (190 certain number of letters and personal was standing by, I bowed to him, and interviews, I found that I had nothing to looked earnestly in his face, thinking to hope for, not even a compromise of the myself, “He is old and infirm, and in matter, from my guardian; uncondi- (140 this world I shall not see him again.” I tional submission was what he demanded; was right: I never did see him again, nor and I prepared myself, therefore, for other
He looked at me complameasures. Summer was now coming cently, smiled good-naturedly, returned on with hasty steps, and my seventeenth my salutation, or rather, my valediction, birthday was fast approaching; after and we parted, though he knew it not, which day I had sworn within myself that forever. I could not reverence him (200 I would no longer be numbered amongst intellectually; but he had been uniformly school-boys. Money being what I chiefly kind to me, and had allowed me many wanted, I wrote to a woman of high rank, indulgences; and I grieved at the thought who, though young herself, had known (150 of the mortification I should inflict upon me from a child, and had latterly treated | him. me with great distinction, requesting The morning came which was to launch that she would “lend” me five guineas. me into the world, and from which my For upwards of a week no answer whole succeeding life has, in many imcame; and I was beginning to despond, portant points, taken its coloring. I when, at length, a servant put into my lodged in the head-master's house, and (210 hands a double letter, with a coronet on
had been allowed, from my first entrance, the seal. The letter was kind and oblig- the indulgence of a private room, which ing: the fair writer was on the sea-coast, I used both as a sleeping room and a and in that way the delay had arisen; (160 study. At half after three I rose, and she enclosed double of what I had asked, gazed with deep emotion at the ancient and good-naturedly hinted that if I towers of - dressed in earliest light,” should never repay her, it would not and beginning to crimson with the radiant absolutely ruin her. Now then, I was luster of a cloudless July morning. I prepared for my scheme; ten guineas, was firm and immovable in my purpose; added to about two which I had remain- but yet agitated by anticipation of [220 ing from my pocket money, seemed to uncertain danger and troubles; and, if I me sufficient for an indefinite length of could have foreseen the hurricane and time; and at that happy age, if no def- perfect hail-storm of affliction which inite boundary can be assigned to (170 soon fell upon me, well might I have
been agitated. To this agitation the deep If any man, poor or rich, were to say peace of the morning presented an af- that he would tell us what had been the fecting contrast, and in some degree a happiest day in his life, and the why (280 medicine. The silence was more pro
and the wherefore, I suppose that we found than that of midnight; and to me should all cry out-Hear him! hear him! the silence of a summer morning is (230 As to the happiest day, that must be very more touching than all other silence, difficult for any wise man to name; bebecause, the light being broad and strong, cause any event that could occupy so as that of noon-day at other seasons of distinguished a place in a man's retthe year, it seems to differ from perfect rospect of his life, or be entitled to have day chiefly because man is not yet abroad; shed a special felicity on any one day, and thus, the peace of nature, and of the ought to be of such an enduring character innocent creatures of God, seems to be as that, accidents apart, it should (290 secure and deep only so long as the have continued to shed the same felicity, presence of man, and his restless and or one not distinguishably less, on many unquiet spirit, are not there to trouble (240 years together. To the happiest lustrum, its sanctity. I dressed myself, took my however, or even to the happiest year, it hat and gloves, and lingered a little in may be allowed to any man to point the room. For the last year and a half without discountenance from wisdom. this room had been my “pensive citadel;” This year, in my case, reader, was the here I had read and studied through all one which we have now reached; though the hours of night; and though true it it stood, I confess, as a parenthesis bewas that for the latter part of this time tween years of a gloomier character. 1300 I, who was framed for love and gentle It was a year of brilliant water, to speak affections, had lost my gaiety and hap- after the manner of jewelers, set as it piness, during the strife and fever of (250 were, and insulated, in the gloom and contention with my guardian; yet, on cloudy melancholy of opium. Strange the other hand, as a boy so passionately as it may sound, I had a little before this fond of books, and dedicated to intel- time descended suddenly, and without lectual pursuits, I could not fail to have any considerable effort, from 320 grains enjoyed many happy hours in the midst of opium (i. e., eight thousand drops of of general dejection. I wept as I looked laudanum) per day to forty grains, or round on the chair, hearth, writing-table, one-eighth part. Instantaneously, (310 and other familiar objects, knowing too and as if by magic, the cloud of profoundcertainly that I looked upon them for est melancholy which rested upon my the last time. Whilst I write this, it (260 brain, like some black vapors that I have is eighteen years ago; and yet, at this seen roll away from the summits of mounmoment, I see distinctly, as if it were tains, drew off in one day (ruxońmepov), yesterday, the lineaments and expression passed off with its murky banners as of the object on which I fixed my parting simultaneously as a ship that has been gaze; it was a picture of the lovely stranded, and is floated off by a spring which hung over the mantelpiece; the tide eyes and mouth of which were so beautiful, and the whole countenance so radiant
"That moveth altogether, if it move at all."
13.20 with benignity and divine tranquillity, that I had a thousand times laid down (270 Now, then, I was again happy; I now my pen, or my book, to gather consola- took only 1,000 drops of laudanum per tion from it, as a devotee from his patron saint. Whilst I was yet gazing upon it,
11 here reckon twenty-five drops of laudanum as equiva
lent to one grain of opium, which, I believe, is the common the deep tones of clock proclaimed estimate. However, as both may be considered varisht that it was four o'clock. I went up to
quantities (the crude opium varying much in strength, and
the tincture still more), I suppose that no infinitesimal ac the picture, kissed it, and then gently
curacy can be had in such a calculation. Teaspoons vary as
much in size as opium in strength. Small ones bold abeat walked out, and closed the door for ever! 100 drops; so that 8,000 drops are about eighty times a tea
spoonful. The reader sees how much I kept within Dr. Buchan's indulgent allowance. (De Quincey.)
day; and what was that? A latter spring statuesque attitudes exhibited in the had come to close up the season of youth; ballets at the Opera House, though so my brain performed its functions as ostentatiously complex, had ever done. healthily as ever before; I read Kant In a cottage kitchen, but panelled (380 again, and again I understood him, or on the wall with dark wood that from fancied that I did. Again my feelings of age and rubbing resembled oak, and pleasure expanded themselves to all looking more like a rustic hall of entrance around me; and if any man from Ox- (330 than a kitchen, stood the Malay-his ford or Cambridge, or from neither, had turban and loose trousers of dingy white been announced to me in my unpretend- relieved upon the dark panelling; he had ing cottage, I should have welcomed him placed himself nearer to the girl than she with as sumptuous a reception as so poor seemed to relish; though her native spirit a man could offer. Whatever else was of mountain intrepidity contended with wanting to a wise man's happiness, -of the feeling of simple awe which her (390 laudanum I would have given him as countenance expressed as she gazed upon much as he wished, and in a golden cup. the tiger-cat before her. And a more And, by the way, now that I speak of striking picture there could not be imaggiving laudanum away, I remember, (340 ined, than the beautiful English face of about this time, a little incident, which the girl, and its exquisite fairness, together I mention, because, trifling as it was, with her erect and independent attitude, the reader will soon meet it again in my contrasted with the sallow and bilious dreams, which it influenced more fear- skin of the Malay, enamelled or veneered fully than could be imagined. One day with mahogany by marine air, his small, a Malay knocked at my door. What fierce, restless eyes, thin lips, slavish (400 business a Malay could have to transact gestures, and adorations. Half-hidden by amongst English mountains, I cannot the ferocious-looking Malay, was a little conjecture; but possibly he was on his child from a neighboring cottage who road to a seaport about forty miles (350 had crept in after him, and was now in distant.
the act of reverting its head, and gazing The servant who opened the door to upwards at the turban, and the fiery eyes him was a young girl born and bred beneath it, whilst with one hand he amongst the mountains, who had never caught at the dress of the young woman seen an Asiatic dress of any sort; his tur- for protection. My knowledge of the ban, therefore, confounded her not a Oriental tongues is not remarkably [410 little; and, as it turned out, that his at- extensive, being indeed confined to two tainments in English were exactly of the words—the Arabic word for barley, and ame extent as hers in the Malay, there the Turkish for opium (madjoon), which seemed to be an impassable gulf fixed (360 I have learned from Anastasius. And, between all communication of ideas, if as I had neither a Malay dictionary, nor either party had happened to possess even Adelung's Mithridates, which might any. In this dilemma, the girl, recollect- have helped me to a few words, I ading the reputed learning of her master, dressed him in some lines from the Iliad; and doubtless giving me credit for a considering that, of such languages as I knowledge of all the languages of the possessed, Greek, in point of longitude, [420 earth, besides, perhaps, a few of the lunar came geographically nearest to an Oriones, came and gave me to understand
He worshipped me in a most that there was a sort of demon below, devout manner, and replied in what I whom she clearly imagined that my (370 suppose was Malay. In this way I saved art could exorcise from the house. I did my reputation with my neighbors; for not immediately go down; but, when I the Malay had no means of betraying the did, the group which presented itself
, secret. He lay down upon the floor for arranged as it was by accident, though about an hour, and then pursued his not very elaborate, took hold of my fancy journey. On his departure I presented and my eye in a way that none of the him with a piece of opium. To him, [430
as an Orientalist, I concluded that opium go; but sometimes they come, when I must be familiar; and the expression of don't tell them to come.” Whereupon his face convinced me that it was. Never- I told him that he had almost as unlimited theless, I was struck with some little a command over apparitions as a Roman consternation when I saw him suddenly centurion over his soldiers. In the middle raise his hand to his mouth, and, in the of 1817, I think it was, that this faculty school-boy phrase, bolt the whole, di- became positively distressing to vided into three pieces, at one mouthful. at night, when I lay awake in bed, (490 The quantity was enough to kill three vast processions passed along in mourndragoons and their horses; and I felt (440 ful pomp; friezes of never-ending stories, some alarm for the poor creature; but that to my feelings were as sad and what could be done? I had given him solemn as if they were stories drawn from the opium in compassion for his solitary times before Édipus or Priam-before life, on recollecting that if he had travelled Tyre-before Memphis. And, at the on foot from London, it must be nearly same time, a corresponding change took three weeks since he could have ex- place in my dreams; a theatre seemed changed a thought with any human suddenly opened and lighted up within being. I could not think of violating the my brain, which presented nightly 1500 laws of hospitality, by having him seized spectacles of more than earthly splendor. and drenched with an emetic, and (450 And the four following facts may be menthus frightening him into a notion that tioned, as noticeable at this time: we were going to sacrifice him to some 1. That as the creative state of the eye English idol. No: there was clearly no increased, a sympathy seemed to arise help for it;-he took his leave, and for between the waking and the dreaming some days I felt anxious; but as I never states of the brain in one point-that heard of any Malay being found dead, whatsoever I happened to call up and to I became convinced that he was used to trace by a voluntary act upon the darkopium; and that I must have done him ness was very apt to transfer itself to (510 the service I designed, by giving him one my dreams; so that I feared to exercise night of respite from the pains of (460 this faculty; for, as Midas turned all wandering
things to gold, that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his human desires, SO
whatsoever things capable of being visuI now pass to what is the main subject ally represented I did but think of in the of these latter Confessions, to the his- darkness, immediately shaped themselves tory and journal of what took place in into phantoms of the eye; and, by a my dreams; for these were the immediate process apparently no less inevitable, when and proximate cause of my acutest suf- thus once traced in faint and visionary (520 fering.
colors, like writings in sympathetic ink, The first notice I had of any important they were drawn out by the fierce chemischange going on in this part of my physical try of my dreams, into insufferable spleneconomy, was from the re-awakening [470 dor that fretted my heart. of a state of eye generally incident to 2. For this, and all other changes in childhood, or exalted states of irritability. my dreams, were accompanied by deepI know not whether my reader is aware seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, that many children, perhaps most, have such as are wholly incommunicable by a power of painting, as it were, upon the words. I seemed every night to descend, darkness, all sorts of phantoms; in some, not metaphorically, but literally to (530 that power is simply a mechanic affec- descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, tion of the eye; others have a voluntary, depths below depths, from which it seemed or semi-voluntary power to dismiss or hopeless that I could ever re-ascend. to summon them; or, as a child once (480 Nor did I, by waking, feel that I had said to me when I questioned him on this re-ascended. This I do not dwell upon; matter, “I can tell them to go, and they because the state of gloom which at