Billeder på siden

three great moments of humanity may man-the man working into freedom be thus expressed. Ist, The natural against passion--is man in action. 3d, or given man, is man in passion--in The “I” is man in free, that is, in enslaved Being. 2d, The conscious real personal Being.

CHAPTER IV. Are we then to hold that man does with any other word denoting what is not become “I” by compulsion---that called “a faculty" of man, and keep he is not constrained to become “ I?” harping on the same, without having We must hold this doctrine. No man first of all come round the reality with. is forced or necessitated to become out the assistance of the word, if we “ I.” All the necessitated part of his seek to educe the reality out of the Being leans the other way, and tends word, -the chances are a thousand to to prevent him from becoming “ I." one that we shall end where we began, He becomes “ I" by fighting against and never get beyond the region of the necessitated part of his nature. mere words. It makes a mighty dif"I" embraces and expresses the sum ference in all kinds of composition, and substance of his freedom--of his whether the reality suggests the word, resistance. He becomes “ I” with or whether the word suggests the his own consent-through the concur- reality. The former kind of suggesrence and operation of his own will. tion alone possesses any value-it alone

We have as yet said little about gives truth and life both to philosophy Human Will, because “ Will" is but and to poetry. The latter kind is a word ; and we have all along been worthless altogether, either in philosoanxious to avoid that very common, pher or poet; and the probability is, though most fatal, error in philosophy that the reality which the word sug- the error, namely, of supposing that gests to him is not the true reality at words can ever do the business of all.* thoughts, or can, of themselves, put us Without employing the word “will,” in possession of the realities which then, let us look forth into the realities they denote. If, in philosophy, we of man, and perhaps we shall fall in commence with the word “ Will,” or with the reality of it when we are

Some curious considerations present themselves in connexion with this subject. lluman compositions may be divided into two great classes. In the first, the commencement is made from feelings, ideas, or realities. These beget and clothe themselves in words. These precede the words. The workers in this order are, in poetry, the true poets. But the words having been employed and established, it is found that these of themselves give birth to feelings and ideas which may be extracted out of them without recourse being had to any other source. Hence a second class of composers arises, in whom words precede ideas—a class who, instead of construing ideas into words, construe words into ideas--and these again into other words. This class commences with words, making these feel and think for them. Of this class are the poetasters, the authors of odes to “ Imagination," “ Hope," &e., which are merely written because such words as “ hope," “ imagination," &c., have been established. These are the employers of the hereditary language of poetry. In philosophy the case is precisely the same. An Aristotle, a Liebnitz, or a Kant, having come, by certain realities of humanity, through an original exertion, and not through the instrumentality of words, makes use of a certain kind of phraseology to denote these realities. An inferior generation of philosophers, finding this phraseology made to their hand, adopt it ; and, without looking for the realities themselves independently of the words, they endeavour to lay hold of the realities solely through the words ; they seek to extract the realities out of the words, and, consequently, their labours are in a different subject matter, as dead and worthless as those of the poetaster. Both classes of imitators work in an inverted order. They seek the living among the dead : that is, they seek it where it never can be found. Let us ask whether one inevitable result--one disadvantage of the possession of a highly cultivated language is not this :—that, being fraught with numberless associations, it enables poetasters and false philosophers to abound-innemuch as it enables them to make words stand in place of things and do the


never thinking of the word, or troub. the law of actual dissent (the opposite ling ourselves about it ; perhaps we of causality) can give it life. shall encounter the phenomenon itself, Here, then, in the realization of the when the expression of it is the last “ 1,” we find a counter-law establishthing in our thoughts; perhaps we ed to the law of causality. The law shall find it to be something very dif- of causality is the law of assent—and ferent from what we suspected ; per. upon this law man's natural being haps we shall find that it exists in and all its modifications, depend. But deeper regions, presides over a wider the life of the “ I" depends upon the sphere, and comes into earlier play law of dissent-of resistance to all his than we had any notion of.

natural or derivative states. And if The law of causality is the great the one of these laws the law of aslaw of nature. Now, what do we pre. sent-is known by the name of caus. cisely understand by the law of causa- ality—the other of them, the law of lity ? We understand by it the keep- dissent, which, in man, clashes with ing up of an uninterrupted depend the law of causality at every point, is, ency throughout the various links of or ought to be, known by the desigcreation; or the fact that one Being nation of will; and this will, this law assumes, without resistance or chal. of dissent, which embodies itself in an lenge, the state modification, or what. act of antagonism against the states ever we may choose to call it, im- which depend upon the law of causal. posed upon by another Being. Hence ity—and which may therefore be call. the law of causality is emphatically the ed the law of freedom, as the other is law of virtual surrender or assent. the law of bondage, is the ground-law

Now the natural man-man as be is of humanity, and lies at the bottom of born-is clearly placed entirely under the whole operation of consciousness, the dominion of this law. He is, as at the roots of the existence of the “1." we have often said, a mere passive Much more might be said concerning creature throughout. He dons the these two great laws, which may be sensations and the passions that come best studied and understood in their to him, and bends before them like a opposition or conflict with one anosapling in the wind. But it is by no ther. means so obvious that the conscious But we have dug sufficiently deep man-the man become “ I”-is also downwards. It is now time that we placed under jurisdiction of this law. should begin to dig upwards, and es.

The “I” stands in a direct anti- cape out of these mines of humanity, thesis to the natural man; it is rea- in which we have been working hard, lized through consciousness, an act of although, we know, with most imper. antagonism against his passive modi- fect hands. We have trod, we trust fications. Are we then to suppose that with no unhallowed step, but with a this “I” stands completely under the foot venturous after truth, on the conlaw of causality, or of virtual surren- fines of those dread abysses which, in der—that the man entirely assents, and all ages, have shaken beneath the feet offers no resistance to the passive of the greatest thinkers among men. states into which he may be cast?- We have seen and handled the dark then, in this case, no act of antagonism ore of humanity in its pure and ele. taking place, consciousness, of course, mental state. It will be a comparadisappears, and the “I” becomes ex- tively easy task to trace it forth in its tinct. If, therefore, consciousness and general currency through the ranks the "I" become extinct beneath the of ordinary superficial life. In our law of causality, their appearance and next and concluding discussion, we realization cannot depend upon that will endeavour to point out the conselaw, but must be brought about by a quences of the act of consciousness ; direct violation of the law of causality, and we trust that the navigation If the “I” disappears in consequence through which we shall then have to of the law of causality, it must mani- steer will be less intricate and perfest (if it manifests itself at all) in plexing than that through which our spite of that law. If the law of vir- present course has lain. tual assent is its death, nothing but


There is a loud demand from all the satyrs--but let us trust that she is with quarters of the globe for Our Two Mrs Gentle in the Lodge. No jeaVases. But we do nothing on coin- lousy between the Widow and the pulsion — therefore the world must Virgin--and we hear them whispering wait. Besides, we are from home. into each other's ears—“ O yes ! they Maga has undertaken to edit herself always mention him"-with tenderest during our absence, and we confess epithets, the name of Christopher that we are not a little curious to see North. what kind of an October Number she On parting with Maga some six may bring forth. Indeed we have re. weeks ago, we told her insidiously signed the Editorship till the New with a kiss that we should employ the Year, and are now but an occasional first dry day on an Article, assured in Contributor. Poor dear soul! we won. our weather-wisdom that no such day der what she is doing with herself dur. would occur before our return.

Ac. ing such weather. We shrewdly sus- cordingly, it has never ceased raining, pect there has been no summer, and where we have been, from that day to perhaps it was unreasonable to expect this ; and so far from ceasing on this, one, as there had been no spring. We rain enough has fallen within these ought not to have left her all by her- few hours to satisfy any ordinary self in Edinburgh among the owls and month. As Armstrong sings or says.

“ Steep'd in continual rains, or with raw fogs
Bedew'd, our seasons droop: incumbent still
A ponderous Heaven o'erwhelms the sinking soul.
Lab'ring with storms, in heapy mountains rise
Th' imbattled clouds, as if the Stygian shades
Had left the dungeon of eternal night,
Till black with thunder all the South descende.
Scarce in a showerless day the Heavens indulge
Our melting clime ; except the baleful East
Withers the tender spring, and sourly checks
The fancy of the year.

Our fathers talk
Of summers, balmy air, and skies serene.
Good Heaven ! for what unexpiated crimes
This dismal change! the brooding elements,
Do they, your powerful ministers of wrath,
Prepare some fierce exterminating plague ?
Or is it fix'd in the decrees above
That lofty Albion melt into the main ?
Indulgent Nature ! O dissolve this gloom!
Bind in eternal adamant the winds
That drown or wither : give the genial West
To breathe, and in its turn the sprightly North :
And may once more the circling seasons rule
The year ; not mix in every monstrous day."

Would that we had, by way of a lay claim. We question much its change, some of that sort of weather. being a day at all—it is merely the We should be contented to see the afternoon of a month's rain, and there “circling seasons mix," not in every, go the rest of the hay-cocks sailing but in one monstrous day”—now a along the meadow to the sea. dry cold cutting blast of spring-now We are driven in despair to the a rattling thunder-storm worthy of Library, and blindly take down a book. summer-now a flood of which Au. Oh dear! what great big clumsy votumn had no need to be ashamed - lume have we got? Yet there is and now a blash of sleet or a fall of something refreshing in this cloud of snow creditable to winter. But we dust. Rarely have we seen a larger defy mortal man to tell to what sea. spider. Fear not, Arachne-for thou son of the year this day is entitled to preservest the leaves from moth and fly—and we are sorry to have dis- to drop a glance on the poetasters turbed thee in thine ancient web. Vo.. at their feet. In the House of Genius lume XVIII. of Chalmers' English there are many mansions; and worthy Poets, we declare !

of everlasting remembrance on earth Maga! though “ absent long and are all tlie departed sons of song. distant far” from thee, the jewel of It is pleasant to us who, from our our soul, this instant shall we sit boylood, have known all that has been down-thus-nor rise up till we have said about him, to read again, even in written an article on the poet who the words of the clumsy Chalmers, of shall first appear on our opening these Thomas Warton-as Southey finely prison doors. Thomas WARTON!

says- happy-natured man, who Now frown not, nor mutter“pshaw!" carried with him a boy's heart to the Not one in a hundred of you—we ven- grave.”. But it is of his poctry, not ture to say-has read a line of him, of his life and character that we would " whose head," saith Thomas Camp- now say a few words; and but a few bell, “filled the laurel with more for our article shall consist, as it learning than it had encompassed for ought to do, for your delight, chiefly of a hundred years "-of whom, saith Specimens. It has this moment struck Robert Southey, “there is no man of us, that tens of thousands would thank his generation to whom our literature us for a Series of such articles_for is so much indebted, except Percy. what a mine of silver and of gold is We had a great share in what may be the great Body of English Poetry ! called our poetical reformation – in In the “ Pleasures of Melancholy," recalling us from a blind faith in composed in his seventeenth year, idols, to the study of the true books." there are some passages of no meau These poets were then speaking of power-and that will bear comparison him as the editor of Milton, the anno- with any thing written at so early an tator on Spenser, and the historian of age by the best of our poets. Indeed, English poetry; we shall be disap. we agree with Thomas Campbell in pointed if you do not agree with us in thinking that " it gives promise of a thinking that our selection from his sensibility which his subsequent poetry own poems proves him to have been did not fulfil;" and, though it cannot likewise a man of genius. We know be truly said that in after life he did that with you the love of poetry is not follow the bidding of his own sincere, and therefore not exclusive; genius, yet, by following it, he seems and that so far from being fastidious, to have allowed to languish in disuse it finds delight in every touch of na- many feelings and emotions with ture. You are not among the num. which his thoughtful heart had in early ber of those who hold their heads so boyhood been familiar, and almost to high as to overlook all poets, but a few have forgotten them in his devotion to of the greatest, and who would scorn the lore of Chivalry and Romance,

“ Beneath yon ruined abbey's moss-grown piles
Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve,
Where through some western window the pale moon
Pours her long-levelled rule of streaming light ;
While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
Save the lone screech-owl's note, who builds his bower
Amid the mouldering caverns dark and damp,
Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
Of Aaunting ivy, that with mantle green
Invests some wasted tower. Or let me tread
Its neighbouring walk of pines, where mused of old
The cloistered brothers : through the gloomy void
That far extends beneath their ample arch
As on I pace, religious horrour wraps
My soul in dread repose. But when the world
Is clad in Midnight's raven coloured robe,
'Mid hollow charnel let me watch the flame,
Of taper dim, shedding a livid glare
O'er the wan heaps ; while airy voices talk
Along the glimmering walls; or ghostly shape
At distance seen, invites with beckoning band

My lonesome steps, through the far-winding vaults.
Nor undelightful is the solemn noon
Of night, when haply wakeful from my couch,
I start : lo, all is motionless around !
Roars not the rushing wind; the sons of men
And every beast in mute oblivion lie ;
All nature's hushed in silence and in sleep.
O then how fearful is it to reflect,
That thro' the still globe's awful solitude,
No being wakes but me! till stealing sleep
My drooping temples bathes in opiate dews.
Nor then let dreams, of wanton folly born,
My senses lead through flowery paths of joy ;
But let the sacred genius of the night
Such mystic visions send, as Spenser saw,
When through bewildering Fancy's magie maze,
To the fell house of Busyrane, he led
The unshaken Britomart; or Milton knew,
When in abstracted thought he first conceived
All Heaven in tumult, and the seraphim

Come towering, armed in adamant and gold."
Nor is the following passage less impressive :-

“ The tapered choir, at the late hour of prayer,
Oft let me tread, while to the according voice
The many-sounding organ peals on high,
The clear slow-dittied chant, or varied hymn,
Till all my soul is bathed in ecstasies,
And lapped in paradise. Or let me sit
Far in sequestered iles of the deep dome,
There lonesome listen to the sacred sounds,
Which, as they lengthen through the Gothic vaults,
In hollow murmurs reach my ravished ear.
Nor when the lamps expiring yield to night,
And solitude returns, would I forsake
The solemn mansion, but attentive mark
The due clock swinging slow with sweepy sway,

Measuring time's flight with momentary sound. In these fine passages, equally as in " The Consecration and the Poet's the productions of his maturer genius,

Dream." Warton discovers “ that fondness for

Yet we may be doing them injus. the beauties of Architecture which was tice-and you may prefer the celean absolute passion in his breast." But brated passages for once they were there is in them, if we mistake not, a celebrated in his “Triumphs of Isis," depth of feeling hardly to be found in written in his 21st year—and in his the best descriptions of the same ob- “ Verses on Sir Joshua's Painted Winjects and places in his later poems. dow at New College," written in adThey are always brought by him be

vanced life and justly called by fore our eye with wonderful distinct

Campbell « spirited and splendid ness—but rather by a vivid conceptive blending the point and succinctness of than imaginative power ; and his pic- Pope with the richness of the elder tures, beautiful or solemn though

and more fanciful school."
they be, want, we fear, what Words-
worth could have given them,

“ Ye fretted pinnacles, ye fanés sublime,
Ye towers that wear the mossy vest of time;
Ye massy piles of old munificence,
At once the pride of learning and defence ;
Ye cloisters pale, that lengthening to the sight,
To contemplation, step by step, invite ;
Ye high-arched walks, where of the w
Of harps unseen have swept the po

« ForrigeFortsæt »