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be the brown matter, and the brown amination of the Objections made in matter alone. The white medullary Britain against the Doctrines of himsubstance, with all its curious cavities self and Colleague.” We sat down to and arrangements, has nothing to do a perusal of it with a considerable dein such mental manifestations, and the gree of curiosity, and we closed it, whole nervous system is alike exclud- quite satisfied as to the merits of these ed. Dr Spurzheim, however, main- far-famed craniologists. tains, that the whole medullary sub- Never was there a more evident at. stance is secreted by the brown, and tempt to evade the overwhelming force that a communicatio can be shewn to of unwelcome facts, than has been exist between them by a system of di- made by Dr Spurzheim on this “ verging and converging fibres. Sure- amination.” Instead of meeting fairly he must have discovered these fi- ly and decisively the objections so bres by an actual dissection-his writ- strongly urged against him ;-instead ings assert this ;-their existence is a of a clear refutation, or a manly consine-qua-non to his whole system.- fession of mistake and error ;-—there is Now Dr Gordon distinctly states, that little else in this pamphlet but a most Spurzheim never did demonstrate such general and unconnected repetition of communication between the brown his former theories and assertions. and nervous matter-he did not de- We see in it only the signs of an immonstrate these diverging and con- becile irritability,-evidently sensible verging fibres when called upon to do to reproach ;-conscious that it is but so; and moreover, Dr Gordon posi- too well founded,—but unwilling to tively denies that any such arrange- confess its justice, and unable to avoid ment can be shewn to exist in the its sting. cerebral mass. How does Dr Spurz- At p. 37, Dr Spurzheim wishes to heim attempt to parry this home- amuse,” his readers by an anecdote, thrust, which goes to terminate his which we must not forget to notice. craniological existence ? Very simply, It is an account of a dissection which by an exclamation of “ Hey ho! is it took place in the Royal Infirmary last
December, and it will be seen how In another part of his pamphlet, slyly a very formidable accusation is indeed, p. 27, he offers to shew con- brought forward against Dr Gordon. verging fibres to any one who shall We know that this gentleman was procure a fresh brain;" and at p. present at this dissection ; but it hap38, mentioning the “ reinforcing fi- pened not to be the week in which his bres,” which Dr Gordon denies are official duty as one of the surgeons to susceptible of demonstration, he offers the Infirmary would have given him “ to demonstrate all these statements the superintendence. This duty beto any one who shall procure a fresh longed to one of his colleagues, the brain.' Every one who knows the next in seniority. Dr Gordon had very great difficulty there is in pro- therefore no necessary concern with curing a recent brain, will easily per- this dissection—it was a point of eticeive that Dr Spurzheim is making quette not to interfere with it. We merry with his readers. He was pro- can assert, that the presence of Dr vided at his demonstration with a Spurzheim in the theatre was known brain in the most recent state,-why neither to Dr Gordon nor to the surdid he not then “ demonstrate all these geon who presided; no intentional obfacts ?”-he did not do so—he was struction could therefore be offered to unable to do so,--and his whole sys- his views by either of these gentlemen. tem falls to the ground.
We regret with Dr Spurzheim, that a “ Upon every occasion,” says Dr dissection so interesting as this really Gordon, “ where he was called upon was, afforded, as we are compelled to acto make good those affirmations which knowledge, so little gratification or imconstitute the leading features of his provement to the students who crowded system, he endeavoured to excuse him- the anatomical theatre. Why were the self from the task, by denying that he whole posse-comitatus of the hospital, had ever maintained any such struc- clinical and surgical clerks, -assistture to be demonstrable.”-P. 114.
ant-surgeons, apothecaries, and dressAs a reply to such serious accusa- ers,- permitted to stand round the tions, Dr Spurzheim produced a dissecting table, and totally to prevent pamphlet, professing to be “ An Ex- the students from sceing the body?
The lower seat which surrounds the new beauty, it will be very soon for area is particularly for the accommo- gotten. There is nothing indeed which dation of this medical suite, but on can make us regret the fall of this ille this occasion it was unoccupied; and fated system. It seems to have been with heads and bodies, forming a pret- a mere exhalation of human thought, ty opaque circle over and around the which has risen, and is passing away table, the view of several hundred stu- before us, in all its native duskiness; dents was completely intercepted. with no rainbow tinge to allure our
Since the brain has had its day as gaze by its beauty-not one celestial the basis of a system, we see no rea- hue to lighten the dull materiality of son why that organ in the human its aspect.
A. M. body, which is popularly supposed to Edinburgh, March 3, 1817. be the seat of passion, shall not in its turn serve to amuse the credulity of mankind. Why may not the human heart be registered in a good sized
ESTABLISHMENT quarto volume, with plates and re
FOUNDLING ferences, and be made the basis to a system of CORDIOLOGY? Some in- MR EDITOR, quirer may arise, who is fond enough Many of your readers must be aware of travelling, and sufficiently anxious that Mr John Watson, Writer to the for a transient reputation to run over Signet, bequeathed a sum of money to Europe, and give lectures on its fibres trustees, to be applied,
“ at the sight and emotions. He may surely dis- of the Magistrates of the city of Edincover such a difference in the twisting burgh, to such pious and charitable of these fibres ;-in the curvature of uses within the said city," as the trusits valves ;-the sweeping of its ar- tees should think proper ; and that teries ;-or the arrangement of its the trustees, after announcing it to be nerves ; as may afford a very amusing their final and unalterable resolution explanation of human passion. The to apply this bequest to the establishheart, indeed, is not just as open to ment of a Foundling Hospital, declarexamination in the living subject as the ed, That upon their decease, the manskull; and we doubt whether any lady agement of the charity should devolve could be found sufficiently in love upon the keepers and commissioners with science, and a new system, to of the Writers to the Signet. Mr expose her heart for the sake of either, Watson died in 1762, and his widow to the manipulation of a cordiologist. in 1779. The Writers to the Signet But comparative anatomy will supply became possessed of the trust-funds, us with data, and there needs but according to the destination of the tesa a little inference, a little reasoning tator's trustees ; and after much litifrom analogy, and a great deal of sup- gation with the Magistrates of Edinposition, to help us out. From the burgh, their right to the management form of the chest we may presume was confirmed by our Supreme Court. the structure of the heart within it; These funds, originally small, have --we might have some good manifesó been so well employed that they are tations of passion by the jugular vein; said now to amount to more than and a great many mysteries commonly £60,000. referred to the human heart, may pro- Now, my object is to know whether bably be explained by peculiarities of this sum is to be applied to the estapalpitation, caused by a modification blishment of a foundling hospital? and in the shape or bumpiness of its apex; if it be, when it is intended so to emor in the arrangement of its tranversé ploy it? or whether it be in contemfibres.
plation to apply to Parliament to auSuch patch-work systems of conjec- thorise its appropriation to such chariture and speculation are fortunately table purposes as may be thought, in destined, by the immutable and eter- the present circumstances of society nal laws of truth, to last but for a sea- and of public opinion, to be more worson. Craniology has almost “lived its thy of encouragement? little hour.” In this city we are certain, From the litigation to which this that, with the absence of Dr Spurz- part of Mr Watson's testamentary heim, and the introduction of some deed has given rise, and the very difother novelty, as a French-dance or a ferent opinions entertained as to the
REMARKS ON GREEK TRAGEDY.
merits of this destination of his pro- dels to copy. It was the growth of perty, as well as from many other in- their own soil, rooted in their usages, stances of a similar description, it is laws, legends, mythology, and pecuimpossible not to perceive how little liar modes of thinking and conforencouragement is held out to such mation of character, and was native charitable, or, it may be, ostentatious to Greece as the vine to her moun, donations. In the progress of society, tains. It was drawn directly from as in that of the age and fortune of nature, and the likeness was pleasindividuals, that which at one stage ing, because it was the faithful copy appears most interesting and praise- of a fair original; not, as too freworthy, is beheld at another with in- quently happens among the ancient difference or aversion.
I, Romans and the modern nations of March 1817.
Europe,-a servile imitation-a tame copy of a copy; it was like nature herself, fresh, and rich, and vigorous,
and unconstrained, ever varying and No I.
On a first view of the Greek tra, (Eschyli Prometheus.) gedy, what strikes the reader, if he is
at all conversant in the drama of the The drama has formed an interest. moderns, is its simplicity. The charing and important part of the litera- acters are few, and the fable neither ture of every nation into which it has intricate nor the incidents surprising. been introduced, and no nation that Its whole interest arises out of the has cultivated literature at all is en- simple expression of natural feeling in tirely without it. Among the Atheni- situations of suffering and sorrow; yet ans, scenical representations were fre- scanty as the materials are, by their quented with a degree of enthusiasm judicious arrangement, a beautiful of which we cannot easily form an superstructure is raised. It may be adequate notion. A successful play likened to a fine painting, in which was the most certain and the shortest the figures are correctly drawn and road to literary fame, and even to for- skilfully grouped--the costume aptune and preferment in the state. The propriate the drapery easy and grace dramatic poets were men of eminent ful-the expression of the passions, genius, and not more remarkable for such as naturally flow from the cirthe qualities of mind that form the cumstances of the actors--the story poet, than for those that constitute the perspicuous—and the lights and shades philosopher. Euripides was the dis- disposed with such art as to give to ciple and the friend of Socrates, who the whole the most pleasing effect. saw the important moral purposes to It has been often repeated, and as ofwhich the drama might be applied, ten acknowledged, that the composition and the divine philosopher did not of a tragedy is one of the most difficult think it beneath him to aid the poet of all the efforts of human intellect. It in the correction of his pieces. In requires a knowledge of the nature of the Greek theatre, not only was the man, and of those general laws by taste of the people formed to a simple which he is governed in every stage of and natural style of composition, and society, which is the portion only of a their minds inspired with a love of gifted few,-of those main springs of virtue, but their piety and their ima- thought, and feeling, and action, that gination were equally improved by are universal, and of all the varieties the unfolding of the beauties of a of their modification produced by his poetical mythology. It was not mere- moral, physical, and political state Īy a place of public amusement, but the temperature or severity of climate rather a temple for the purification of the purity of religion or the grossness the national manners, and the worship of superstition--the exaltation of liberof the gods,
--more moral in its ten- ty or the degradation of slavery. The dency than their sacrifices and festi- dramatic writer must be endowed with vals. It is to be understood, that the eye that can unveil the human these observations apply only to tra- heart, detect the passions in their gedy, for the Greek comedy was often source, and trace them in their intrilicentious and immoral.
cate windings, and give to all fit utIt was fortunate for the Greeks that terance. He must be possessed of a in their literature they had no mo- pliancy of mind, by which he may
place himself almost simultaneously in high reputation which he has obtained the situation of all his characters--of a among the poets of Greece, is now to sympathy with the beings of his own be examined ; and I shall begin with imagination, which will enable him to a short analysis of the play of Promethink with their minds, to feel with theus. It is founded on a well-known their hearts, and speak with their fable. In the wars of the gods, Protongues, as if they were real charac- metheus had joined the party of Jupiters—to become at once a Shylock and ter, to whom he gave important aid in a Portia-a Hamlet and the Queen the unnatural expulsion of his father, Mother. So to conceive and to paint Saturn, from the throne of heaven. character, as to clothe it in the garb of Jupiter, however, forgetful of past nature, to model it to symmetry, and services and of solemn oaths, was no to inspire it with the animation of life, sooner seated on the throne, than he not merely in description, but in re- began to exercise his authority in acts presentation--so to invent a fable as to of the most abominable tyranny over make it at once probable and interest- gods and men. His amusement was ing, to lead us into the society of men in insulting the subject gods, but men and women in the moment of suffering he determined to exterminate, by at or heroism, and to light the whole with once depriving them of food and fire. a radiant atmosphere of poetry-from Prometheus was not like the submisthe frequency of the failure, must be sive throng of courtier gods, so far corconcluded to be one of the most ardu- rupted by the contagion of servility, ous of the enterprises of genius. Hence as not to feel pity for the distresses of the miscarriages of men, even of great mankind. In defiance of the tyrant, poetical talents; of whom some have he interposed to save them from the brought upon the stage characters so threatened destruction, and not only cold and so correct, so stiff and so gave them fire and food, but instructformal, so unlike the men and wo- ed them in many of the useful and ormen with whom we mingle in real namental arts. Jupiter, enraged at this life, that we have no more sympa- act of disobedience to his despotic manthy with them than with the inha- dates, condemned him to be chained bitants of the moon. They are mere to a rock on Mount Caucasus, there to puppets, through which their authors remain till he should expiate his crime, pour forth their declamations on stale and offer submission; and this senmorality, and without the smallest re- tence was carried into execution with gard to propriety; every thing is spoken many circumstances of cruelty and inin the same tone, and with the same sult. This preface was necessary to emphasis. With these writers, every the right understanding of the play. breeze is a whirlwind, and every feel- The main object of Æschylus, in ing an ecstasy. They do not suit the writing this tragedy, was to exhibit to language to the sentiment, nor study his countrymen, in Jupiter, a ferocious the processes of Nature, who never errs tyrant, stained with every crime; and in fitness, but gives to every stream its in Prometheus, a suffering patriot. own particular
key-sound, according Among the Athenians, such a subject to the weight of its waters and the ra- could not fail to awaken the deepest pidity of its descent. These hints, interest. Never was an altar erected crude and undigested as they are, will to freedom in any country on earth be of practical application in my re- where her flame burnt purer than in marks on Greek Tragedy.
that city; and this drama was an of Æschylus, in a glorious age, had fering worthy of such a shrine. perhaps a fairer claim to originality The fable is more than commonly than any of his contemporaries. He did simple, and all the characters mythonot improve, but create tragedy. He logical or allegorical except one. Theynot only paved the way in which Shak- are, Prometheus--a Chorus of Ocean speare was afterwards to move with a Nymphs-Io, the Daughter of Inachus splendour that should eclipse his own -Ocean-Vulcan-Force-and Vioand every other name, but he gave to lence;--of whom the two latter, under the acting manager the mechanism of the direction of Vulcan, bind Promescenery that was to represent the beau- theus to a rock with chains of adaties of the landscape, not merely to mant. In their presence, neither pain, delight the eye of the spectator, but nor the insults of Force, who is a well to give a fit place for the action.. painted executioner--por the sympa
The claims of this writer to the thy of Vulcan, who is his kinsman
draws from him a single word; but as traverse. In the last scene, Mercury soon as they retire, he apostrophizes the appears, commissioned by Jupiter to rivers, the ocean, the earth, the air, extort from Prometheus a secret at and the sun; and calls upon them to which he had hinted in his conversation witness the injustice of his punish with 10,—that it was in the decrees ment. The sound of his lamentations of fate that the tyrant himself should draws to the scene of his sufferings a be dethroned, and that he alone knew company of ocean nymphs, who form the means by which the danger might the Chorus, and consequently never be averted. On the sight of this minleave the stage.* They come as friends, ion of the despot, he addresses bim in to sooth and to sympathise ; and to the language of sarcasm and defiance, them he explains, that by his counsels confessing his knowledge of the secrets Jupiter had succeeded in his designs of fate, and his resolution never to reon his father's throne, and that in him veal them till his bonds should be they may see what reward they have loosed. The rock to which he is fixed to expect who serve a tyrant. To is struck with thunder, and he dethem he likewise narrates, at full scends to the infernal regions amid the length, the favours he had conferred convulsions of nature.
With Ocean, who was also Such, divested of all poetical ore attracted to the place by his com- nament, is an abstract of this sinplaints, he holds a dialogue on the same gular play. Here there is none of subject,--who, after having reasoned the interest that arises from the hur. with him in vain on the inutility of ry, of incident, and the unexpected resistance, and advised submission, change of fortune. From the conquits the stage. Io then enters. She, clusion of the first scene to the belike Prometheus, was the victim of the ginning of the last, the action stands cruelty and the crimes of Jupiter, and still the intermediate scenes being was wandering over the earth in soli- merely conversational, and in nowise tary wretchedness, goaded on by the forwarding the plot. The only thing jealousy of Juno. Prometheus fore- like business is in the first scene, where tells her future wanderings, and gives Prometheus is chained ; and in the a short but rapid and poetical descrip- last, when he sinks amid the thunder. tion of the countries which she is to Nor are the subordinate characters
more interesting than the incidents, * The most remarkable feature of differ. displaying none of those fine creations ence between the ancient and modern dra. in which the charm of dramatic poetry mas was the Chorus, a company of
persons who might naturally be supposed present
consists, nor of the language well ima on the occasion, and interested in the events gined, yet suitable to the situation of the which were going on.
The number of the speaker. They do nothing more than chorus was at first indefinite. Æschylus, utter common places of sympathy and in his Eumenides, brought no fewer than submission to the powers that be; and fifty on the stage, but was obliged by the what is said by one, may, with equal civil authority to reduce them to twelve.
propriety, be put into the mouth of Sophocles was afterwards permitted to add any other. In what then, it may be three ; and after that time fifteen seems to asked, does the merit of this tragedy have been the number to which the chorus consist? In the character of Promewas restricted. This company was constantly on the stage. One of them, who theus alone ;-in the benevolence that was called Choragus, or Choryphæus, the refines, and in the sublimity that eleleader or president of the chorus, generally vates, the soul of man ;-in the conspoke for the rest ; but their odes were sung sciousness of rectitude, that reposes on by the whole band, accompanied with music itself, independent of fortune ;-in the and dancing. It was the office of the chorus glorious energy of spirit, that resists to deduce from the events represented those oppression, though armed with omnimoral reflections which the principal actors were too busy, or too impassioned, to make; potence ;-and in the fortitude that to direct the leading
characters with their rises superior to unmerited sufferings. counsel ; and, during the intervals of the It was the love of independence, and action, to sing their odes, in which they the hatred of tyranny, and the unprayed to the gods for success to the vir. quenchable daring of a lofty mind, tuous, lamented their misfortunes, and took that rendered it the delight of the occasion, from the events, to enforce upon Athenians. It was the bright reflectheir audience the lessons of religion and tion of their own souls, and the fair morality.
image returned to them again with all VOL. I.