Billeder på siden

And some compose a tragedy,

And some compose a rondo; And some draw sword for liberty,

And some draw pleas for John Doe. Tom Mill was used to blacken eyes,

Without the fear of sessions ; Charles Medlar loath'd false quantities,

As much as false professions :
Now Mill keeps order in the land,

A magistrate pedantic;
And Medlar's feet repose unscann'd,

Beneath the wide Atlantic.
Wild Nick, whose oaths made such a din,

Does Doctor Martext's duty;
And Mullion, with that monstrous chin,

Is married to a beauty ;
And Darrell studies, week by week,

His Mant, and not his Manton ;
And Ball, who was but poor at Greek,

Is very rich at Canton.
And I am eight-and-twenty now;

The world's cold chains have bound me; And darker shades are on my brow,

And sadder scenes around me:
In Parliament I fill my seat,

With many other noodles;
And lay my head in Jermyn-street,

And sip my hock at Boodle's.
But often, when the cares of life

Have set my temples aching; When visions haunt me of a wife,

When duns await my waking ;
When Lady Jane is in a pet,

Or Hoby in a hurry;
When Captain Hazard wins a bet,

Or Beaulieu spoils a curry;
For hours and hours I think and talk

Of each remember'd hobby ;
I long to lounge in Poets' Walk,

To shiver in the lobby;
I wish that I could run away

From House, and court, and levee,
Where bearded men appear to-day,

Just Eton boys, grown heavy; That I could bask in childhood's sun,

And dance o'er childhood's roses;
And find huge wealth in one pound one,

Vast wit in broken noses ;
And play Sir Giles at Datchet Lane,

And call the milk-maids Houris ;
That I could be a boy again,

A happy boy, at Drury's!

[ocr errors]


We are induced, by the publication of a new Edition of Dr. Brown's Lectures on the Philosophy of Mind, to offer a few remarks on the character of one of the most remarkable men of our times, snatched, too early, from the scene of his important labours.

Though it be far more seemly and in keeping, that those mighty spirits that fling wide the gates of truth to the human sense, and prove that “the ways of wisdom are pleasantness," should have their monuments in the grateful hearts of the wise and good, and their epitaphs in those truths with which they have enriched the book of knowledge, yet it would be gratifying to those who wish for the improvement of the people, to find that even the mere empty honours and distinctions should be given to the real possessors of moral and intellectual power, rather than to the adventitious de positories of power which is merely physical. If the monuments that have been of late years erected in the public places, and at the public expense, in this country, could ever become the only memorials of the period, that period would have all the appearance of one of barbarity and war. He who took a redoubt, or captured a cockboat, bas his tablet or his statue, while the man who devoted a life to the successful advancement of science lies neglected, and his history has no memorial “in storied urn, or animated bust."

The remains of the man of whom we are about to speak lie in the lonely churchyard of Kircudbright. . In this there is the less to be regretted, as, since the invention of printing, Wisdom has built her own house ; and since the diffusion of a taste for reading news is wide, the remembrance of such great men is safe with the public. We do not, for instance, need to erect monuments to Watt, or Arkwright, or Smeaton ; for we have only to look round the country, and

; there they are, in the works which they constructed, and the successors whom they raised up in emulation.

But while we are conscious of this, and exult in the conscious ness of it, we cannot help feeling that there is yet more to be done. Mechanical and constructive power, in all their varities, and in all the splendid results to which they have led, deserve all the homage that the most elevated can pay them. When we consider that this little island has had to support shocks and bear burdens which would have shattered and crushed any other nation upon the face of the earth, and that, after all, it continues to maintain an eminence, in wealth and in power, of which waste and misrule seem not capable of depriving it,—when we consider these things, and at the same time consider, that to our mechanical skill we are indebted for them, it is not possible for us to help feeling national exultation. When we find skill and industry rising superior to all the accidental distinctions of society, and man ranking higber upon his superiority as man, than upon any of those distinctions upon which barbarians and semi-barbarians look with so much veneration, we cannot MARCU, 1829.



help feeling, that our true dignity lies in the possession of reason and understanding, and that the final triumph of these must be as certain as it is silent and safe in the progress.

Yet, while we rejoice in the effect, we must not forget the cause, -we must bear in mind, that those efforts, important and cheering though they be, are really consequences of something anterior, without which they never could have been. While we concede to the public the praise of aptitude and success as scholars, we must not forget those by whom they bave been taught : highly as we prize the inventions of art, we must never forget that they are only deductions from the discoveries of science. When we look at the condition of nations, we find, that desires of accommodation and comfort, and hands for the working of it out, are not what even the rudest of them stand in need of. Men to hew the wood and fashion the stone may be found any where; the grand difficulty lies in getting the intellect to invent the plan, and superintend the erection. For all that has been done for the civilization of mankind, and the vast increase that the arts have made to their comforts, we are indebted to a few silent and retired men, here and there, who have devoted themselves to the study of nature; and who, after having established them upon the sure basis of demonstration, have promulgated those laws, the applications of which have been so beneficial to society. In what are called the Fine Arts, or in what are called the Useful Arts, the distinction is not correct, as the Fine Arts are as useful in contributing to the pleasure of cultivated man, as the others are in contributing to the same purpose, in a less refined and intellectual state;—the work of the inere artist contains in itself his stimulus and reward. Men can see, appreciate, and praise it; and in proportion as they find it gratify them, they gratify him in return. But not only until the discovery has been made, .but until it has ripened into invention, the honour and the reward of the nian of science are confined within his own breast. In the most busy and crowded community he must labour alone; nor can be derive any advantage from the stimulus of approbation, till he is so far advanced as to be quite independent of it. It is for this reason that the men of real science are so few, and that, even in this age and country of unprecedented application, their numbers have not kept pace with those of any other class of the community. Wherefore no public journalist ever better performs his duty to the publio, than by calling their attention to those men who have devoted their time to the interests of science; and, so that the branch of science to which they have devoted themselves be but of sufficient utility and importance, the farther that it lies out of the track of common pursuit the better.

If it be conceded that man is of more service than mere matter, and few that are men will refuse the concession,-then it must fola low that the science of man, as a rational being, is the most inte resting of the sciences. Other sciences may be valuable, as they are the foundations of those arts that render life more or less happy in external accommodations, but that is the study of life itself. Pain and sorrow, pleasure and joy, are in the mind itself; and if we be

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

properly taught to understand and to regulate that, we are safe from contingencies, against which they whose only security is in external things can have no permanent protection.

Considering these things,-considering too the amiable character of the individual—the high intellectual endowments, the ardent love of man in his besta ffections, and of liberty in its purest forms, we do not think that we can confer upon our readers a greater be nefit than by giving them a little information respecting the life, cha. racter, and philosophical labours of that inquirer into the pheno: mena and laws of our intellectual being, whose name we have given as the title of this article.

Besides its general value as a piece of philosophical delineation, there is a lesson to be deduced from the study of Dr. Brown, which pleads powerfully for philosophy in general, and for that most delightful but most neglected branch, the Philosophy of the Mind, in particular. The great vulgar and the small, those who have learned nothing, and those who have learned to hate all true learning, and to prevent, as far as in them lies, its diffusion, are all in the habit of describing philosophy as the associate of austerity ;saying that the philosopher, more especially the profound philosopher, is a man who abstracts himself from the world, tasteś none of its pleasures, feels none of its charities, and is, in short, à contemner of men, and indifferent to their weal or their woe. This allegation, which is as unfounded as it is illiberal, never met with a fuller confutation, in all its parts, than in the case of Dr. Brown, Never was man more warm and disinterested in his friendships ; never did man more completely put off the philosopher when he came into society; never did man take a more intense interest in every thing liberal; and never did man, in every individual act of his life, and in the whole tenor of it, shew that he was more sincere. If Dr. Brown was more than usually happy, it was in perceiving that those about him were happy; if ever he felt proud, it was when he felt that he had removed an error, or sapped the foundation of a prejudice; if ever he felt that lofty indignation which only the highly gifted can feel, it was when the lightning of his eloquence (which in those cases was tremendous) was falling upon the memory of some one, who had been the curse and the scourge of the human race; and whenever he triumphed, it was when his cause was liberty, and his weapon truth.

It has been matter of general remark, that the lives of philosophers and literary men are but read in their writings, and that when you come to their lives, though there should be nothing to blame, there is usually just as little to praise. They eat, drink, and sleep like other men, and as their great and favourite deeds are all in the closet, to which only the reader of their works is admitted, they must be caught there or not found. With Dr. Brown, the case was, different; and though he had never delivered a lecture, nor written a line, his biography would have been delightful and instructive as a piece of biography.

There is something interesting, not only in the parentage but in the very birth-place of Dr. Brown. The epoch of the Scottish per

secutions, when the simple but sincere inhabitants of the South, in their own quaint but energetic expression, " took up the testimony of their God in the wilderness,"—when the mountain echoes rang to their songs of adoration, which were forbidden in the churcheswhen the mountain rills ran red with the blood of the butchered, for no other cause than that they would not allow the arm of power to come between them and their Creator; when that was done, painful as it was in the doing, there was something won for that part of the island, which has not to this day been told. There was a devotedness for liberty, a hatred both of tyrannizing and being tyrannized over, that has remained, and has produced far more talent among those mountains than has been elicited in more wide and populous districts that have avoided the same visitation. The rude monuments of “the Martyrs” are still to the people there what the plain of Marathon should be to the Greeks. Among those wilds Dr. Brown was born, and his infant steps were by the very caves where his ancestors had prayed for a blessing upon Scotland, at the same time that they were obliged to grasp the broadsword, in order to save the hearts from which the prayer emanated.

Thomas Brown, whose father and grandfather were, in succession, ministers of the parish in which he himself was born and buried, first saw the light in 1778. From his earliest power of perception there was something ineffably sweet and susceptible in his appearance and demeanour; and before he could lisp, earlier indeed than many children could listen, his mother used to lull him to sleep with his little eyes in tears of sympathy at the mournful melody of “ The Flowers of the Forest." Though he was not two years old when his father was in that stage of his last illness which portended a speedy dissolution, such was the activity of his mind, and the uninterrupted happiness of his disposition, that, though he was the youngest of the family of thirteen, his father pointed to him as the one that would be a blessing to his mother, when she should be his only parent; and never was a fond paternal prophecy more amply and literally accomplished. Brown was devoted to his mother to the day of her death; and he has paid to her memory, in the close of his 21st Lecture, perhaps the most true, touching, and exquisite tribute that ever was paid to maternal tenderness.

Soon after the death of his father, his mother removed to Edinburgh, as the best place for her family to receive their education. When not yet three years old, he was quite restless till he should learn to read. The alphabet was but one lesson; and so rapid was his progress, that, ere he was four, he could take the range of all the English books in the library. The Bible was a favourite with him ; and he very soon was so familiar with the historical parts of it, as to be a critic. Before he had strength for holding the Bible in any other way than in his lap, a lady called and found him on the parlour floor, with his hands among the leaves, and eagerly looking first at one part and then at another. “Are you going to preach, Tom?" said she. “No," replied the infant critic, "I am only looking at how far the Evangelists differ in their history of Christ; for I see they are not all the same.” Indeed, when his mother wished him to remain

« ForrigeFortsæt »