Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

able; your children are well trained; and your little transferred it to another. If she were several years dinner-parties are unexceptionable; but how you manage older, with a mind fully developed, and a strength of to do all this, I cannot conceive. You would be surprised character fitted to endure the vicissitudes of life, she if I were to tell you the trouble I have with my eight might be trusted to a fate so promising; but, at her age, servants. My fat old cook divides his time between ex- sho will be the mere plaything of a husband who has periments in lart gastronomique and the billiard-table; / gained a deeper insight into the good and evil of this my coachman starves the horses, and gets drunk with the world's wisdom; and it will be hard for her to obtain in money for which he sells their oats ; the footman spends future the influence which a wife ought always to possess, his time in trimming his whiskers; and the waiter loses and which is only to be gained by the unison of firm the silver, and breaks my china ;-so much for the men. principles and perfect gentleness. He may delight in With the women it is but little better: the nurse neglects the beauty of his girlish wife, but he can scarcely be exmy children while she flirts with the beaux who crowd to the pected to respect her opinions; and woe to the woman house on Sunday, in yellow gloves and blue inexpressibles; whose husband does not regard her as his confidential the chamber-maid borrows my embroidered capes for her friend. And now that I have finished my lecture, evening parties ; and the prattling French governess has Susan, pay tell me when the marriage is to take place ? actually been detected in a clandestine correspondence • As soon as we can complete our arrangements; prowith one of my husband's clerks, a simple boy from the bably in about a fortnight,' answered Mrs Arlington, as country. There is no help for it; so I must shut my she rose to depart. Her sister's earnestness had startled eyes and let matters take their course. I could not en- her into more serious reflection than she usually indulged, dure a life of domestic drudgery.'

and she bade her farewell with a saddened countenance. Mrs Hilton did not reply; she knew it was useless to But when she stepped into her carriage, and threw hertell her, that what she called drudgery was in fact the self back upon her luxurious cushions, her old habits of duty of every good wife ; and that although manual labour thought returned. " After all,' said she to herself, may not always be necessary, yet the constant supervision wealth is a very desirable thing; Harriet may never of the mistress is essential to the well-being of a family. have such another brilliant offer, and what signifies a * The eye of the master maketh a diligent servant,' is a few years more or less ?-she must learn by experience proverb almost forgotten in these days of luxury and false instead of precept.' refinement.

Alas ! how little benefit from those costly lessons has Our discussion has led us far from Harriet and her that mother derived, who willingly transfers her daughter fortunes,' said Mrs Hilton, after a moment's pause ; Ito so severe a school, when her own kind guidance might should like to know something of her intended husband; save her from its harsh discipline ! he is a very handsome man, yet there is something in the On her sixteenth birthday, Harriet Arlington became expression of his face which I do not like.'

the wife of the rich and handsome Edward Tracy. The • He is the son of an old friend of my husband, and, by wedding was unequalled in splendour ; the bride looked the recent death of his father, has come into possession fairy-like in her loveliness, and queenly in the richness of a large fortune.'

of her apparel—what more could a fashionable mother 'What do you know of his character and temper, desire ? A few weeks were devoted to festivity, and then Susan?'

the newly wedded pair set sail for France, where they Very little; he has spent several years in Europe, and purposed spending their first year, amid the gaieties of is

very well informed. He is said to be somewhat eccen- Paris. Among Mrs Arlington's parting lessons to her tric, and his manners are a little reserved.'

daughter, was one which Harriet vainly tried to underHow long has he known Harriet P'

stand. • Be careful, my child,' said her mother, that • He dined with us last year, when Harriet was little you never inquire into your husband's early history; there more than a pretty child, but I think he has never seen are a thousand adventures which befal a man in the her since, until about three weeks ago, when we met him course of his life to which he dislikes to recur; and it is on the street; her extreme beauty seemed to attract him always best for his wife to know nothing about them." immediately, and he has since then been a constant Harriet possessed a mind of perfect purity, and therefore visiter.'

she was utterly ignorant of the vices of society. To her, Does Harriet fancy she has any attachment to him ? Tracy seemed all that she could desire; and she did not I say fancy, because it could scarcely be a genuine affec- dream that he could have ever known evil; she would tion already.'

never, therefore, have thought of inquiring into his past 'I believe all boarding-school girls are much alike in history, simply because she was quite satisfied with him one point, Mary; they come home with imaginations ex- at present ; and yet, her mother's words, implying that cited by novel-reading, and are ready to fall in love at a there might be something to learn respecting her husmoment's warning, with any interesting youth. Har- band, troubled her more than she would have liked to riet is like the rest ; and the attentions of a man as hand-confess. Immediately upon their arrival in Paris, they some as Edward Tracy soon produce an impression. You were surrounded by Tracy's former friends, and Harriet look grave; you think me wrong in giving Harriet to one found herself the centre of attraction to the most of whom I know so little.'

fashionable circle of the pleasure-loving metropolis. Her "I will be frank with you, Susan ; to me the advantages extreme youth, her exceeding beauty, her winning simof wealth and intellect are of little value, in comparison plicity of manners, and frank demeanour, made her a with good principles and sound morality. Edward Tracy general favourite; and Tracy had the satisfaction of may be the most fascinating of men, but if he lack steadi- knowing that the voice of fashion now ratified his own ness of character, Harriet will never be happy with him. taste. She is naturally very affectionate in her disposition, with Edward Tracy was one of the world's votaries and warm feelings, and, I should think, a strong tendency to victims. At an early age he had been sent to school in romantic sensitiveness; she will attach herself to her England, and from thence he had entered the university; husband with the most ardent tenderness; and if he be so that from his childhood he had been deprived of the a man of high-toned character and sound sense, he will advantages of home influence. His mind had been culmould her into the loveliest woman in society ; but if he tivated, but his heart neglected ; and the sweet charities is one of the votaries of excitement, a lover of pleasure of life, which grow up only in the quiet sunshine of domerely, then woe to her, as soon as the charm of her mestic retirement, had never diffused their perfume beautý palls upon his senses! You are giving to the hands around his boyhood. His mother had died while he was of a stranger, a cherished plant, just when it is about to an infant; and his father, immersed in the cares of busiblossom into perfect beauty; if he watch over it with ness, thought that his duty was fully performed when antious care all will be well; but if he blight it in the Edward was placed at school, and well supplied with daily bud, you will bitterly repent the haste with which you I comforts. There was no home into which he could enter, to learn the happy influence of social duties; no mother her marriage. She saw a man of noble person and graceto infuse a love of virtue into his soul, by her gentle pre- ful manners, offering to her the devoted attentions of an cepts and example; no sisters to teach him a habitual ardent lover, and her heart sprang towards him with reverence for the purity of woman's nature. His college girlish eagerness and fondness. When a woman lives a life had been disgraced by no excesses, and to all appear- little while in society, she learns, by sad experience, that ance his moral character was as unimpeachable as his disappointments must come, and bitter as they may be mental qualities were brilliant; but it was whispered that when inflicted by those she loves best, she at length learns his few intimate friends could tell a different tale. to bear them with patience, and even to expect them.

In fact, Tracy was consummately selfish. For his vices But sad is the fate of her whose first sorrow is the work had not the excuse of youthful passion, since he was actu- of him who has sworn to love and cherish her-to whose ally as cold and calculating as if he had numbered four- | lips the chalice of disappointment is commended by the score winters ; and for his virtues, or what passed as such, hand which placed on hers the symbol of unbroken union. he deserved little praise, because they were the result To all outward appearance, Tracy was as kind to his solely of interested motives. A most ingenious sophist, wife as most fashionable husbands; but poor Harriet he could deceive himself and others into the belief that would willingly have exchanged his cold politeness when he was actuated by the noblest principles, when he was in society, for a single look of real tenderness ; while his only obeying the dictates of inclination; and, with senti- capricious tyranny in private was such as to keep alive a ments of honour and magnanimity ever on his lips, he constant irritation of temper on her part, which served was seldom known to do a disinterested act.

as an excuse, though it was in fact the result, of his deSuch was the husband of the lovely and warm-hearted glect of her feelings. Harriet. Well might her worldly-minded mother dread Another and a still dceper fountain of bitterness, was her inquiring into his past life; but more, far more, might finally opened in the heart of the young wife. In the she have feared for his future conduct.

careless freedom of conversation with her Parisian friends, A sudden transition from the restraints of a boarding- she had learned some of the dark secrets of her husband's school to the excitements of fashionable life, might have early life. To the mind of a pure-hearted girl, whose tried the strength of a far more vigorous mind than was ideas of human nature have been formed after the inimi. possessed by Mrs Tracy. Bewildered in the whirl of table models of the heroes of romance, nothing can gire gaiety, and intoxicated by continued draughts of adu- so fearful a shock, as the discovery that the object of her lation, Harriet gave herself up to the full enjoyment of innocent love has ever been the votary of vicious indul. pleasure. But she soon learned that life's pleasures are gence. like earth's flowers-if we are content to inhale their A woman of less feeling, placed in Harriet's situation, sweets while engaged in the exercise of Setive duties, they would, perhaps, have resigned herself quietly, and comare harmless and even healthful; but if we gather them forted herself with the external advantages of her posiaround us while we recline upon the drowsy couch of in- tion-for Tracy rarely interfered in his wife's pursuitsdolence and supineness, their rich perfume can only bring and a little management would have enabled her to avoid disease and death.

the frequent scenes of angry altercation which made her A few short months sufficed for her dream of folly, and so very miserable. But Harriet had too much affection then all the allurements of society could not blind her to for her husband, too little regard for those worldly adranthe fact that her husband was daily becoming neglectful tages which she had possessed from infancy, to be content in his conduct towards her. The novelty of success was with such a lot. Candid, even to a fault, she possessed over; the triumph of possessing so young and pretty a wife neither the skill which enables a cunning woman to mahad ceased to interest him, and Tracy was rapidly re- nage the inequalities of a capricious temper, nor the turning to his old habits of dissipation. Wounded by his tact which teaches a worldly wise one to take advantag? indifference, and accustomed to have every grievance reo of the faintest ray of returning good feeling in her hus. dressed by her affectionate parents, as soon as made band. She was unhappy; she knew that her husband known to them, Harriet, naturally enough, adopted the was the cause of her misery, and she upbraided him with same system of girlish repining in her intercourse with his cruelty in the same manner as, but a few months beher husband. With the fretful manner of a petted child, fore, she would have reproached a schoolfellow. she reproached him for his frequent absence, and his Tracy looked upon his young wife as a mere child, manifold engagements; and vainly expected that the whose happiness depended upon the gratification of her petulance which had been indulged by her mother, girlish whims; and so long as he allowed her to do what would have equal influence with him. Naturally good- she pleased, he thought she ought not to complain, if he tempered, her fretfulness was only the result of unlimited assumed the same privilege. He did not know that 3 indulgence; and judicious advice, joined with kind treat-woman's happiness consists in the exercise of her affecment, would soon have subdued such a disposition; but tions, and that he might as well call upon a blind man to Tracy was not calculated to correct faults in the charac- admire the beauties of nature, as expect a woman to be ters of others, and a habit of bickering soon grew up be- content with mere external advantages, when shut out tween them which threatened to destroy all domestic from the light of love. He considered Harriet as spoiled comfort.

by early indulgence ; but had he ever looked into the Harriet, with a youthful impatience of melancholy depths of her guileless character, he would have learned feelings, endeavoured to lose the recollection of her dis- that many a pearl of price lay beneath the surface of the comfort, by plunging still more deeply in fashionable stream of thought which his breath so often rutHed. folly. There were many among her acquaintances, who, The tale we are relating is no uncommon one. Who while they lacked her advantages in point of wealth, and cannot point to some similar instance of domestie youth, and beauty, were far her superiors in worldly estrangement, even among their own familiar friends? wisdom. These persons gladly undertook her guidance The world is witness to some brilliant marriages; it bethrough the mazes of society, and by their aid, the equi- holds the newly wedded pair surrounded by attuence and page, the dress, the entertainments of Mrs Tracy, becaine luxury ; it, perhaps, welcomes them to its scenes of distinguished for their splendour and richness. But in gaiety, but no more is known, until suddenly the tie is vain the poor girl tried to cheat herself into happiness. severed !—the wife returns to the home of her childhood The warmer feelings of early youth were daily withering the husband becomes a solitary wanderer. Then come within her bosom, and no outward show could compensate surmises and conjectures, recollections of trifling differ. her for their loss. The romance, which belongs more or ences between the parties, and it may be, all the • kiud less to the nature of every woman, had not been wasted mendacity of hints,' to explain the motives of so unforeseen by her upon school friendships, or fancied attachments, a separation. But who, save the sufferers themselres, but had at once centred upon her husband. No calcula- can know of the causes which led to such a disruption or tions of interest had ever been in her mind connecter with domestic ties P Who can trace the course of the tempest,

from the cloud no bigger than a man's hand,' to the cians; and thus, in apparent unconsciousness, she lingered fiery thunderbolt rending the chain which bound the several days, ere death relieved her from the burden of fettered pair? Who was allowed to hear the angry existence. word, the hasty retort ? Who beheld the cold look, the On her eighteenth birth-day she lay extended in her bitter sneer? Who listened to the keen reproach of coffin, in the very room where, two years before, she had wounded affection, the scoffing reply of incipient hatred ? stood, in girlish loveliness and bridal array, to pronounce Alas! so frail is human nature, that our very virtues the irrevocable vows which doomed her to disappointment sometimes do the work of vices, and even as fanaticism and an early grave. may be productive of as much evil as infidelity, so our In a few years Tracy ended a life of profligacy by a tenderest affections, when injudiciously exercised, may be death of unmitigated suffering—the victim of his own as subrersive of domestic happiness as aversion.

vices. * The two first years of married life are always the most hazardous; if we escape shipwreck then, we may hope to steer our bark safely to a haven of rest.' Such was

GL E ANINGS the remark of one now in her grave, who had passed, not

FROM PROFESSOR STEWART'S DISSERTATION ON THE PROGRESS OP unscathed, through the ordeal; and daily experience proves the truth of her assertion. If it requires time and

METAPHYSICS, PREFIXED TO THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA. patience, in order to modulate two musical instruments As this magnificent discourse is scarcely accessible to a to perfect harmony, how much more of both is needed to large proportion of the reading public, and as some preproduce exact accordance between two hearts—those vious acquaintance with a science, which can never become harps of a thousand strings’—which, when once wedded, generally popular, is necessary in order to its being read can give forth the music of life only when they are in with relish, we have thought that it might not be an ununison. It matters not how intimately the character of acceptable task to throw together a few of the more strikcach may have been studied by the other before marriage; ing conceptions and interesting facts which lie scattered the familiar intercourse of wedded life develops a thou- over its pages. sand trifling peculiarities, and half-formed habits, which We meet at the outset with a very fine image illustracould not be discovered earlier, because there was no op- tive of the continuity of knowledge. It is quoted from portunity for their display; and, generally speaking, Mr Harris, the well-known author of Hermes. Even in mutual forbearance is the first duty which we are called the middle ages, there was always a faint twilight, like to exercise.

that auspicious gleam which, in a summer's night, fills up At the expiration of the eventful two years, Harriet the interval between the setting and the rising sun.' was once more an inmate of her father's house. The Prior to the Reformation, the authority of Aristotle differences between herself and her husband had arisen was imposed by oath on the teachers in many of the unito such a height, that nothing remained but a separation; versities. and under the pretence of seeking renovated health in her When authors learned to address the multitude in the native land, Mrs Tracy quitted her husband, leaving him vernacular tongues, the prejudice began to vanish which still the ornament of the Parisian circles of fashion. had so long confounded knowledge with erudition; and Alas! the unhappy Harriet had been too early sub- a revolution commenced in the republic of letters, analojected to the trials which require womanly strength gous to what the invention of gunpowder produced in the of character, and womanly gentleness of demeanour. art of war. All the splendid distinctions of mankind, The petted child, fresh from the indulgence of the as the Flower of Chivalry indignantly exclaimed, were nursery, with all the waywardness of a school girl yet thereby thrown down, and the naked shepherd levelled clinging to her affectionate nature, was but little fitted to with the knight clad in steel.' encounter the fate which awaited her. Broken in health “May I,' asks the Professor, in a passage marked by and spirits, and suffering from a nervous irritability the ut niost felicity of thought and expression, may I be which threatened to destroy reason itself, she returned permitted to caution my readers against the common to the home of her happy years, the mere shadow of her- error of confounding the Machiavelian politicians with self. The joyous expression of her once beautiful face the benevolent reverence for established opinions manihad given place to a look of care and vexation; her smooth fested in the noted maxim of Fontenelle" That a wise forehead bore traces of the oft-knit brow, and she seemed man, even when his hand was full of truths, would often prematurely aged in mind as well as body. The sudden content himself with opening his little finger. Of the death of her infant, to whom she had looked for future advocates for the former, it may justly be said, that they solace in her loneliness of heart, completed the work which love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are her ill-assorted marriage had begun; and while Tracy evil;' well knowing, if I may borrow the words of Bacon, still remained amid the gaieties of Paris, his wife was that the open day-light doth not show the masks, and fast sinking into a state of mental imbecility.

munumerics, and triumphs of the world, half so stately She would sit for hours in one position ; her hands as candle-light.' The philosopher, on the other hand, hanging listlessly by her side, her head bent down, her who is duly impressed with the latter, may be compared eyes fixed on vacancy, seemingly abstracted from every to the oculist, who, after removing the cataract of his thing around her. The voice of her mother, presence patient, prepares the still irritable eye, by the glimmerof her father, were alike powerless to arouse her at such ing dawn of a darkened apartment, for enjoying in safety times from her mournful trance. She required her room the light of day.' to be darkened ; and the admission of a ray of sunshine The following passage, translated from the French of made her shiver, as if the light of day were perfectly ab- Bodin, a philosophical lawyer of the sixteenth century, horrent to her. Alarmed at her increasing hatred of reminds us very forcibly of the manner of our own Hooker. life, her mother took measures to guard her with the ut- By images equally natural with the foregoing, the same most vigilance; but her cares were vain. One morning grand truth is illustrated and enforced. We ought, in her attendant left the room for a few minutes, leaving the government of a well-ordered state and commonMrs Tracy apparently buried in sleep; on her return she wealth, to imitate and follow the great God of nature, was horror-stricken to find her lying prostrate on the floor, who in all things proceedeth easily, and by little and with the blood flowing from a wound in her temple. little; who of a little seed causeth to grow a tree for Whether she had fallen against the chimney-piece in height and greatness right admirable, and yet, for all attempting to rise, or whether the more horrible suspicion that, insensibly; and still by means conjoining the exwhich entered the minds of her agonized parents was true, tremities of nature, as by putting the spring between could never be known. She uttered not a word when she winter and summer, and autumn betwixt summer and was placed in bed-she returned no answer to the en- winter, moderating the extremities of the terms and seatreaties of her parents, nor the questions of her physi- sons, with the self-same wisdom which it useth in all

[ocr errors]

other things also, and that in such sort, as that no violent Errors are sometimes relatively beneficial, by displac course or force therein appeareth.'

ing others more noxious than themselves. A toy, says So late as 1598, it was maintained by Hofman, pro- D'Alembert, must sometimes be given to a child to get fessor of divinity in the University of Helmstadt, that out of its hands a mischievous weapon. what was false in philosophy might be true in theology! Stewart asserts, that Descartes, by establishing the

Strange have been the aberrations of men of genius and principle that nothing conceivable by the power of imagilearning. Melancthon and Kepler believed in astrology; nation can throw any light on the operations of thought,' and Tycho Brahe, the 'prince of astronomers,' revered as laid the foundation-stone of the experimental philosophy prophecies the ravings of an idiot whom he kept in his of the human mind. service.

Gassendi has very smartly observed, in defence of his After that of Buchanan, Scotland has no name of much preference for the atomic theory over the vortices of the note in literature for about a century and a half.

later philosopher, that 'chimæra for chimæra, he could Men believe,' says Bacon, that their reason governs not help feeling some partiality for that which was two their words; but it often happens, that words have power thousand years older than the other.' From reading Desenough to re-act upon reason. Education he has happily cartes' Treatise on Man, Malebranche was seized with paldescribed as the "Georgics (agriculture) of the mind.' pitation of the heart. He who was so susceptible under With a clear presentiment of his future renown, he be- the dull appliances of metaphysics, was unable to read, queaths his name to posterity, after some generations without disgust, a page of the finest poetry. shall be past.'

The chief feature in the philosophy of Malebrancke is Hobbes, the next English philosopher of eminence, was the rejection of second causes. Closely coinciding with born in 1588, and lived to upwards of ninety. His ethi- certain Hindoo sages, who teach, according to Sir William cal and political doctrines are very closely interwoven Jones, that the creation is an energy rather than a work, with each other. All men he considered by nature equal. he held the Deity to be the immediate cause of every Society he deemed entirely an interested league, in which, effect in the universe. Ideas are in the Divine mind, not by common consent, a portion of natural rights is sacri- ours; and there we perceive them. By such speculations, ficed that the remainder may be enjoyed in security. some of which, at least, will appear absurd to none but Hence the multitude become one thing, called a state or superficial thinkers, the French philosopher may be said republic. In this the will of the magistrate is supreme, to have paved the way for the idealism of Berkeley. and the only standard of right and wrong. Power and Stewart, with a specific reference to the last, has the folright he consequently believed to be interchangeable lowing splendid passage :- In reflecting on the repeated terms. "The power of God,' he affirms in his treatise reproduction of these, and other ancient paradores by on Liberty and Necessity, alone is a sufficient justifica- modern authors, whom it would be highly unjust to action of any action he doth. That which he doth cuse of plagiarism, still more, in reflecting on the affinity is made just by his doing it.'

of some of our most refined theories to the popular beliet, He used to say, in his strong paradoxical style, by way in a remote quarter of the globe, one is almost tempted of enforcing the value of reflection—If I had read as to suppose that human invention is limited, like a barrelmuch as some others, I should have been as ignorant as organ, to a specific number of tunes. But is it not a they are.

fairer inference, that the province of pure imagination, Cudworth (born 1617, died 1688) was the prime anta- unbounded as it may at first appear, is narrow, when gonist of Hobbes. His great object was to tear up by the compared with the regions opened by truth and nature to roots the whole of the Epicurean philosophy. Professor our powers of observation and reasoning? Prior to the Stewart imagines that the following passages contain the time of Bacon, the physical systems of the learned pergerm of Kant's leading idea in the Critic of Pure Reason. formed their periodical resolutions in orbits as small as Independently of this, they are too beautiful in them- the metaphysical hypotheses of their successors ; and yet selves to need any apology for their insertion. The who would now set any bounds to our curiosity in the mind, according to Cudworth, perceives, by occasion of study of the material universe ? Is it reasonable to think outward objects, as much more than is represented to it that the phenomena of the intellectual world are less by sense, as a learned man does in the best-written book, various, or less marked with the signatures of diride than an illiterate person or brute. To the eyes of both wisdom P' the same characters will appear; but the learned man, Nothing can be more picturesque than the only interin those characters, will see heaven, earth, sun, and stars; view between Malebranche, now considerably above serenty read profound theorems of philosophy or geometry; learn years of age, and the future Bishop of Cloyne. The cona great deal of new knowledge from them, and admire versation turned on the non-existence of matter. Malethe wisdom of the composer; while to the other nothing branche, who had an inflammation in his lungs, and whom appears but black strokes drawn on white paper. The Berkeley found preparing a medicine in his cell, and cookreason of which is, that the mind of the one is furnished ing it in a small pipkin, exerted his voice so violently in with certain previous inward anticipations, ideas, and in the heat of their dispute, that he increased his disorder, struction, that the other wants.

In the room of which carried him off a few days after.' this book of human composition let us now substitute the One of the most distinguished and successful antagobook of nature, written all over with the characters and nists of Malebranche was Anthony Arnauli, who seems to impressions of divine wisdom and goodness, but legible have been at least his match in metaphysical enthusiasm. only to an intellectual eye. To the sense both of man The latter appears to have anticipated, in part, the doctrines and brute, there appears nothing else in it, but, as in the of Reid. 'lle died,' says his biographer, 'in an obscure other, so many inky scrawls; that is, nothing but figures retreat at Brussels, in 1692, without fortune, and eren and colours. But the mind, which hath a participation without a servant; he, whose nephew had been a minister of the divine wisdom that made it, upon occasion of those of state, and who might himself have been a cardinal. sensible delineations, exerting its own inward activity, The pleasure of being able to publish his sentiments was will have not only a wonderful scene, and large prospects to him a sufficient recompense. Nicole, his friend of other thoughts laid open before it, and variety of know- and companion in arms, worn out at length with these ledge, logical, mathematical, and nioral, displayed, but incessant disputes, expressed a wish to retire from the also clearly read the divine wisdom and goodness in every field and to enjoy repose. Repose !' replied Amauld; page of this great volume, as it were written in large and wont you have the whole of eternity to repose in ?!? legible characters.'

'An anecdote,' continues Stewart, which is told of his The fine remark, that hypocrisy is the homage which infancy, when considered in connexion with his subsevice pays to virtue, belongs to the Duc La Rochefoucauld. quent life, affords a good illustration of the force of im. This writer's taste was so fastidious that some of his pressions received in the first dawn of reason. He was Marims were altered thirty times prior to publication. amusing himself one day with some childish sport, in the

library of the Cardinal du Perron, when he requested of of heaven's concentrated lightning, darkness, and thunthe Cardinal to give him a pen :— And for what purpose ?' der; or the sweeter features of living, rushing streams, said the Cardinal.—To write books, like you, against the spicy odours of flower and shrub, fresh spirit-elating Huguenots.' The Cardinal, it is added, who was then breezes sounding through the dark pine grove; the everold and infirin, could not conceal his joy at the prospect varying lights and shadows and aerial hues ; the wide of so hopeful a successor; and, as he was putting the pen prospects, and, above all, the simple inhabitants. into his hand, said, 'I give it to you, as the dying shep- We delight to think of the people of mountainous reherd Damætas bequeathed his pipe to the little Corydon.” gions; we please our imaginations with their picturesque

There is such a class as that which Pliny calls eruditum and quiet abodes; with their peaceful, secluded lives, tulgus, the learned vulgar.

striking and unvarying costumes, and primitive manners. "To trace an error,' says Coke, "to its fountainhead, is We involuntarily give to the mountaineer heroic and eleto refute it.'

vated qualities. Ile lives amongst noble objects, and There is much smartness in the observation of Montes- must imbibe some of their nobility; he lives amongst the quieu on the poverty of Spanish literature. The only elements of poetry, and must be poetical; he lives where good book,' he says, which the Spaniards have to boast his fellow-beings are far, far separated from their kind, of, is that which exposes the absurdity of all the rest.' and surrounded by the sternness and the perils of savage No one need be told that that book is Don Quixote. nature ; his social affections must, therefore, be propor

The first part of the Dissertation brings down the his- tionately concentrated, his home feelings lively and tory of metaphysical science to the close of the seventeenth strong ; but, more than all, he lives within the barriers, century. The second embraces the eighteenth, and earlier the strongholds, the very last refuge which nature herself portion of the present. From this, on another occasion, has reared to preserve alive liberty in the earth, to prewe may present the reader with similar gleanings.' serve to man his highest hopes, his noblest emotions, his

dearest treasures-his faith, his freedom, his hearth, and

home. How glorious do those mountain-ridges appear MOUNTAINS.

when we look upon them as the unconquerable abodes of There is a charm connected with mountains so powerful, free hearts; as the stern, hearen-built walls from which that the merest mention of them, the merest sketch of the few, the feeble, the persecuted, the despised, the their magnificent features, kindles the imagination, and helpless child, the delicate woman, have from age to age, carries the spirit at once into the bosom of their enchanted in their last perils, in all their weaknesses and emergenregions. How the mind is filled with their vast solitude!cies, when power and cruelty were ready to swallow them how the inward eye is fixed on their silent, their sublime, up, looked down, and beheld the million waves of despotheir everlasting peaks! How our heart bounds to the tism break at their feet-have seen the rage of murderous music of their solitary cries-to the tinkle of their gushing armies, and tyrants, the blasting spirit of ambition, fanarills! to the sound of their cataracts-how inspiriting ticism, and crushing domination, recoil from their bases are the odours that breathe from the upland turf, from in despair. * Thanks be to God for mountains !' is often the rock-hung flower, from the hoary and solemn pine! the exclamation of my heart, as I trace the history of the how beautiful are those lights and shadows thrown abroad, world. From age to age, they have been the last friends and that fine transparent haze which is diffused over the of man. In a thousand extremities they have saved him. valleys and lower slopes, as over a vast, inimitable picture! What great hearts have throbbed in their defiles from the

At this season of the year the ascents of our own moun- days of Leonidas to those of Andreas Hofer! What lofty tains are become most practicable. The heat of summer souls, what tender hearts, what poor and persecuted creahas dried up the moisture with which winter rains satu- tures hare they sheltered in their stony bosoms from the rate the spongy turf of the hollows; and the atmosphere, weapons and tortures of their fellow-men! clear and settled, admits of the most extensive prospects. Whoerer has not ascended our mountains, knows little of

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose boneg

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold! the beauties of this beautiful island. Whoever has not climbed their long and heathy ascents, and seen the was the burning esclamation of Milton's agonized and intrembling mountain-flowers, the glowing moss, the dignant spirit, as he beheld those sacred bulwarks of richly-tinted lichens at his feet; and scented the fresh freedom for once violated by the disturbing demons of aroma of the uncultivated sod, and of the spicy shrubs; the earth ; and the sound of his fiery and lamenting apand heard the bleat of the flock across their solitary ex- peal to heaven will be echoed in every generous soul to panses, and the wild cry of the mountain-plover, the ra- the end of time. pen, or the eagle; and seen the rich and russet hues of Thanks be to God for mountains! The variety which distant slopes and eminences, the livid gashes of ravines they impart to the glorious bosom of our planet were no and precipices, the white glittering line of falling waters, small advantage ; the beauty which they spread out to and the cloud tumultuously whirling round the lofty sum- our vision in their woods and waters, their crags and mit; and then stood panting on that summit, and beheld slopes, their clouds and atmospheric hues, were a splendid the clouds alternately gather and break over a thousand gift ; the sublimity which they pour into our deepest souls giant peaks and ridges of every varied hue-but all silent from their majestic aspects ; the poetry which breathes as images of eternity ; and cast his gaze over lakes and from their streams, and dells, and airy heights, from the forests, and smoking towns, and wide lands to the very sweet abodes, the garbs and manners of the inhabitants, ocean, in all their gleaming and reposing beauty, knows the songs and legends which have awoke in them, were a Dothing of the treasures of pictorial wealth which his own proud heritage to imaginative minds ; but what are all country possesses.

these when the thought comes, that without mourtains But when we let loose the imagination from eren these the spirit of man must have bowed to the brutal and the splendid scenes, and give it free charter to range through basc, and probably have sunk to the monotonous level of the far more glorious ridges of continental mountains, the unvaried plain. through Alps, Apennines, or Andes, how is it possessed When I turn my eyes upon the map of the world, and and absorbed by all the awful magnificence of their behold how wonderfully the countries where our faith seenery and character! The sky-ward and inaccessible was nurtured, where our liberties were generated, where pinnacles, the

our philosophy and literature, the fountains of our intel

lectual grace and beauty sprang up, were as distinctly Sublimity in icy halls !

walled out by God's hand with mountain ramparts from the dark Alpine forests, the savage rocks and precipices, the eruptions and interruptions of barbarism, as if at the the fearful and unfathomable chasms filled with the sound especial prayer of the early fathers of man's destinies, I of ever-precipitating waters ; the cloud, the silence, the am lost in an exulting admiration. Look at the bold avalanche, the cavernous gloom, the terrible visitations barriers of Palestine ! see how the infant liberties of

Palaces where nature thrones

« AnteriorContinuar »