« AnteriorContinuar »
We better shall by far hold out,
* How say you, reader-do not these verses smack of the rough magnanimity of the old English vein? Do they not fortify like a cordial; enlarging the heart, and productive of sweet blood, and generous spirits, in the concoction? Where be those puling fears of death, just now expressed or affected? Passed like a cloud-absorbed in the purging sunlight of clear poetry-clean washed away by a wave of genuine Helicon, your only Spa for these hypochondries. And now another cup of the generous! and a merry New Year, and many of them to you all, my masters!
I am of a constitution so general, that it consorts and sympathizeth with all things. I have no antipathy, or rather idiosyncrasy in any thing. Those natural repugnancies do not touch me; nor do I behold with prejudice the French, Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch.--Religio
THAT the author of the Religio Medici. mounted upon the airy stilts of abstraction, conversant about notional and conjectural essences, in whose categories of Being the possible took the upper hand of the actual, should have overlooked the impertinent individualities of such poor concretions as mankind, is not much to be admired. It is rather to be wondered at, that in the genus of animals he should have condescended to distinguish that species at all. For myself, earthbound and fettered to the scene of my activities,-
Standing on earth, not rapt above the sky, I confess that I do feel the differences of mankind, national or individual, to an unhealthy excess. I can look with no indifferent eye upon things or persons. Whatever is, is to me a matter of taste or distaste; or when once it be. comes indifferent, it begins to be disrelishing. I am, in plainer words, a bundle of prejudices
made up of likings and dislikings-the veriest thrall to sympathies, apathies, antipathies. In a certain sense, I hope it may be said of me that I am a lover of my species. I can feel for all indifferently, but I cannot feel towards all equally. The more purely English word that expresses sympathy, will better explain my meaning. I can be a friend to a worthy man, who upon another account cannot be my mate or fellow. I cannot like all people alike."
'I would be understood as confining myself to the subject of imperfect sympathies. To na. tions or classes of men there can be no direct, antipathy. There may be individuals born and constellated so opposite to another individual nature, that the same sphere cannot hold them. I have met with my moral antipodes, and can
I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experi. ment in despair. They cannot like me; and in truth, I never knew one of that nation who at tempted to do it. There is something more plain and ingenuous in their mode of proceeding. We know one another at first sight. There is an order of imperfect intellects (under which mine must be content to rank) which in its constitution is essentially anti-Caledonian. The owners of the sort of faculties I allude to
believe the story of two persons meeting (who never saw one another before in their lives) and instantly fighting.
We by proof find there should be 'Twixt man and man such an antipathy, That though he can show no just reason why For any former wrong or injury, Can neither find a blemish in his fame, Nor aught in face or feature justly blame, Can challenge or acciise him of no evil, Yet notwithstanding hates him as a devil. The lines are from old Heywood's "Hierarchie of Angels." and he subjoins a curious story in confirmation, of a Spaniard who attempted to assassinate a King Ferdinand of Spain, and being put to the rack could give no other reason for the deed but an inveterate antipathy which he had taken to the first sight of the King.
- The cause which to that act compell’a
him Was, he ne'er loved hiin since he first beheld
have minds rather suggestive than comprehena sive. They have no pretences to much clear. ness or precision in their ideas, or in their man. ner of expressing them. Their intellectual wardrobe (to confess fairly) has few whole pieces in it. They are content with fragments and scattered pieces of Truth. She presents no full front to them—a feature or side-face at the most. Hints and glimpses, germs and crude essays at a system, is the utmost they pretend to. They beat up a little game peradventure, and leave it to knottier heads, more robust constitutions, to run it down. The light that lights them is not steady and polar, but mutable and shifting: waxing, and again waning. Their conversation is accordingly. They will throw out a random word in or out of season, and be content to let it pass for what it is worth. They cannot speak always as if they were upon their oath, but must be understood, speaking or write ing, with some abatement. They seldom wait to mature a proposition, but e'en bring it to market in the green ear. They delight to impart their defective discoveries as they arise, without waiting for their full development. They are no systematizers, and would but err more by attempting it. Their minds, as I said before, are suggestive merely. The brain of a true Caledonian (if I am not mistaken) is constituted upon quite a different plan. His Minerva is born in panoply. You are never admitted to see his ideas in their growth-if ine deed they do grow, and are not rather put to. gether upon principles of clock-work. You never catch his mind in an undress. He never hints or suggests anything, but unlades his stock of ideas in perfect order and completeness. He brings his total wealth into company, and gravely unpacks it. His riches are always about him. He never stoops to catch a glittering something in your presence to share it with you, before he quite knows whether it be true touch or not. You cannot cry halves to anything that he finds. He does not find, but bring. You never witness his first apprehension of a thing. His understanding is always at its meridian: you never see the first dawn, the early streaks. He has no falterings of self-suspicion. Surmises, guesses, misgiv. ings, half-intuitions, semi-consciousness, partial illuminations, dim instincts, embryo con. ceptions, have no place in his brain or vocabulary. The twilight of dubiety never falls upon him. Is he orthodox-he has no doubts. Is he an infidel he has none either. Between the affirmative and the negative there is no border-land with him. You cannot hover with him upon the confines of truth, or wander in the maze of a probable argument. He always keeps the path. You cannot make excursions with him, for he sets you right. His taste never fluctuates. His morality never abates. He cannot compromise, or understand middle actions. There can be but a right