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related to me his rencontre with the character-many of them terrific !" fearful object which had overturned I begged him, if it were not unhis reason-adding with intense feel. pleasant to him, to give me a speciing, that not ten thousand a-year men of them. should induce him to live in the same “ It is certainly far from gratifying to chambers any more.
trace scenes of such shame and horror During the course of his progress-but I will comply as far as I am towards complete recovery, memory able," said herather gloomily. “Once shot its strengthening rays further I saw him,” meaning the spectre, and further back into the inspissated "leading on an army of huge speckled gloom in which the long interval of and crested serpents against me; and insanity had shrouded his mind; but when they came upon me—for I it was too dense—too “palpable an had no power to run away-I sudobscure”- to be ever completely denly found myself in the midst of and thoroughly illuminated. The a pool of stagnant water, absolutely rays of recollection, however, settled alive with slimy shapeless reptiles; distinctly on some of the more promi- and while endeavouring to make my nent points; and I was several times way out, he rose to the surface, his astonished by his sudden reference face hissing in the water, and blazing to things which he had said and done, bright as ever! Again, I thought I during the “ depth of his disorder.” saw him in single combat, by the He asked me, once, for instance, gates of Eden, with Satan—and the whether he had not made an attempt air thronged and heated with swart on his life, and with a razor, and faces looking on!”. This was unhow it was that he did not succeed. questionably some dim confused reHe had no recollection, however, of collection of the Milton-readings, in his long and deadly struggle with the earlier part of his illness. “Again, his keeper-at least he never made I thought I was in the act of opening the slightest allusion to it,-nor of my snuff-box, when he issued from course did any one else.
it, diminutive, at first, in size-but “ I don't much mind talking these swelling, soon, into gigantic proporhorrid things over with you, Doctor tions, and his fiery features diffusing --for you know all the ins and outs a light and heat around, that absoof the whole affair ; but if any of my lutely scorched and blasted ! At friends or relatives presume to tor- another time, I thought I was gazing ture me with any allusions or en- upwards on a sultry summer skyquiries of this sort-I'll fight them! and in the midst of a luminous they'll drive me mad again !" The fissure in it, made by the lightning reader may suppose the hint was I distinguished his accursed figure, not disregarded. All recovered with his glowing features wearing maniacs have a dread-an absolute an expression of horror, and his horror-of any reference being made limbs outstretched, as if he had been to their madness, or any thing they hurled down from some height or have said or done during the course other, and was falling through the of it; and is it not easily accounted sky towards me. He camehe came for ?
-flung himself into my recoiling “ Did the horrible spectre which arms-and clung, to me-burning, occasioned your illness, in the first scorching, withering my soul within instance, ever present itself to you me! I thought further, that I was afterwards ?” I once enquired. He all the while the subject of strange, paused and turned pale. Presently paradoxical, contradictory feelings he replied, with considerable agita- towards him ;-that I at one and the tion—« Yes, yes—it scarcely ever same time loved and loathed-feared left me. It has not always preserved and despised him!” He mentioned its spectral consistency, but has several other instances of the conentered into the most astounding- fusions in his “chamber of imagery." the most preposterous combinations I told him of his sudden exclamation conceivable, with other objects and concerning Mr T's burial, and scenes-all of them, however, more its singular corroboration ; but he or less, of a distressing, or fearful either did not, or affected not to recol
lect any thing about it. He told me now and then feel the motions—the he had a full and distinct recollec- writhing undulating motions of its tion of being for a long time possess- coils-hear it utter a sort of sigh, and ed with the notion of making him see it often elevate its head over the self a “sacrifice" of some sort or bed, and play with its soft, slippery, other, and that he was seduced or delicate forked tongue over his face, goaded on to do so, by the spectre, to soothe him to sleep. When poor in the most dazzling temptations - M-, with a serious, sober, earnest and under the most appalling threats air, assured me he still believed all -one of which latter was, that God this,my hopes of his complete and final would plunge him into hell forever, restoration to sanity were dashed at if he did not offer up himself ; once ! How such an absurd-in short that if he did so, he should be a sub- I have no terms in which I may ade lime spectacle to the universe,” &c. quately characterise it-how, I say, &c. &c.
such an idea could possibly be per“Do you recollect of dictating a sisted in, I was bewildered in atnovel or a romance ?" He started as tempting to conceive. I frequently if struck with some sudden recol- strove to reason him out of it, but in lection. “No-but I'll tell you what I vain. To no purpose did I burlesque recollect well—that the spectre and and caricature the notion almost beI were set to copy all the tales and yond all bounds; it was useless to romances that ever had been written, remind him of the blank impossibiin a large, bold, round hand, and lity of it; he regarded me with such then translate them into Greek or a face as I should exhibit to a fluent Latin verse!” He smiled, nay even personage, quite in earnest in delaughed at the thought, almost the monstrating to me that the moon was first time of his giving way to such made of green cheese. emotions since his recovery.
He I have once before heard of a paadded, that, as to the latter, the idea tient who, after recovering from an of the utter hopelessness of ever get- attack of insanity, retained one soliting through such a stupendous un tary crotchet-one little stain or dertaking, never once presented it- speck of lunacy-about which, and self to him, and that he should have which alone, he was mad to the end gone on with it, but that he lost his of his life. I supposed such to be inkstand!!
the case with M
It was pos“ Had you ever a clear and dis- sible-barely so, I thought-that he tinct idea that you had lost the right might entertain his preposterous nouse of reason ?"
tion about the boa, and yet be sound Why, about that, to tell the truth, in the general texture of his mind. I've been puzzling myself a good I prayed God it might; I“ hoped deal, and yet I cannot say any thing against hope.” The last evening lever decisive. "I do fancy that at times I spent with him, was occupied with had short, transient glimpses into my endeavouring, once for all, to the real state of things, but they were disabuse him of the idea in question; 60 evanescent. I am conscious of and in the course of our conversafeeling at these times incessant fury tion, he disclosed one or two other arising from a sense of personal con- little symptoms-specks of lunacystraint, and I longed once to strangle which made me leave him, filled with some one who was giving me medi- disheartening doubts as to the probacine."
bility of a permanent recovery. But one of the most singular of all is yet to come. He still persisted My worst fears were awfully reathen, after his complete recovery, as Jised. In about five years from the we supposed, in avowing his belief period above alluded io, Mwho that we had hired a huge boa serpent had got married, and had enjoyed from Exeter Change, to come and excellent general health, was spendkeep constant watch over him, to ing the summer with his family at constrain bis movements when he Brussels—and one night destroyed threatened to become violent; that himself—alas, alas, destroyed himself it lay constantly coiled up under his in a manner too horrible to menbed for that purpose; that he could tion!
PR PARR AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
Reader! perhaps you have heard in common purposes for the time, of churls, who, being embarked in and liable to common inconvenithe same ship for an East-India voy ences of weather or accident, and age, or engaged as associates in the
even to common possibilities of dansame literary undertakings, have ger, without recognizing something manifested no interest at all in the beyond a stranger's claim to offices partners of their hopes and hazards. of kindness or courtesy in the tranWe, for our parts, have heard of a sient relations of a fellow traveller. monster-and otherwise not a bad Yet these are, in their nature, felt monster-among the contributors to to be perishable connexions; neighthis very Journal, who sent his bourhood is a relation either purely “ article” most punctually--punc- of accident, or of choice not detertually received his honorarium mined by consideration of neighpunctually acknowledged its receipt bours. And the brief associations of by return of post, but in no one in- public carriages or inns are as evanstance, through a period of several escent as the sandy columns of the years, thought proper to express Great Desert, which the caprices of satisfaction in any one " article” of the wind build up and scatter, shape his collaborateurs, or interest in their and unshape in a moment. Seldom, characters, or curiosity about their indeed, does a second sun shine upon names; who seemed, in fact, wilfully fellow travellers in modern England. and doggedly unaware of their ex. And neighbourhood, if a more duistence; and, in one word, by a single rable tie, is often one even less conact of profound selfishness, anni- sciously made known to the parties hilated, to his own consciousness, concerned. If, then, connexions all contemporary authors, however casual as these, where the vinculum closely brought into connexion with of the relation is so finely spun as to himself.
furnish rather a verbal classification · Far be such apathy from Christo- to the logician than a practical subpher North and his friends! The ject of duties to the moralist, are yet merest poco-curante or misanthrope, acknowledged by the benevolent as whom long experience of the world imposing some slight obligations of has brought to the temper of fixed consideration and service, much and contemptuous disregard for man more ought an author to find, in the as a species, not seldom makes an important circumstances which conexception in favour of the particular nect the ministers of the press, in John, William, or James, whom ac their extensive fellowship of duties, cident has embarked in the same rights, powers, interests, and neceslittle boat with himself. Dan Dan- sities, a bond of fraternal alliance, cer, the miser, fought the battles of and more than fraternal sympathy. the paupers in his own neighbour- Too true it is, that authors are somehood, and headed them in their cam times blockheads, very probably coxpaigns for rights of common and combs,and by possibility even knaves. turbary with the most disinterested Too commonly it happens that, in heroism. Elwes, the prince of misers, the occasions and the motives which sometimes laid aside his narrow originally drew them into authorship, cares for the duties of a patriot. No there is little or nothing to command man so memorably selfish, who has respect. Venter largitor ingeni is the not, on some occasion of his life, felt great feeder of the Metropolitan the social instinct which connects press; and, amongst the few who his else contemptible race, and ac commence authors upon arguments knowledged the duties which grow less gross and instant, there are not out of it. As to the good and generous, many who do so from impulses enthey cannot travel so much as a tirely honourable. Jewish Sabbath-day's journey in Considerations such as these, are company with another, participating at war with all sentiments of regard
for the mere hacks of the press, who, professional learning. Such persons, having no natural summons to so fine it is true, are in general unequally a vocation, pervert literature-the no- learned ; so indeed are most men; blest of professions-into the vilest so, beyond all men, was Dr Parr. of trades. But wherever that is not We do not believe that he possessed primâ facie presumable, wherever any one part of knowledgeaccurately, circumstances allow us to suppose unless it were that section of classithat a man has taken up the office of cal learning which fell within his author with adequate pretensions, province as a schoolmaster. The and a proper sense of his responsi- practice of a long life naturally made bilities--every other author of gene- him perfect in that; perfect at least rous nature will allow him the bene- in relation to the standard of that fit of that privilege which all over profession. But how small a part of the world attaches to co-membership Classical researches lie within the in any craft, calling, or guild what. prescriptive range of a practising soever-even those which are illibe schoolmaster! The duties of a proral or mechanical; à fortiori in those fessor in the universities or final which are intellectual. Surgeons schools have a wider compass. But bleed surgeons for love, physicians it must be a pure labour of supereroassassinate physicians gratis. Super- gation in a teacher of any school for annuated actors are everywhere free, boys, if he should make his cycle of or ought to be, of the theatre. And study very comprehensive. Even an author who has exercised his craft within that cycle, as at this time proin a liberal and gentlemanly spirit, is fessed by some first-rate teachers, entitled in that character to the cour was Dr Parr master of everything ? tesies of all professional authors, and In some of its divisions was he even to entire amnesty as respects his po master of any thing? For example, litics. These claims we cheerfully how much did he know-has he left allow; and we come to the consider- it upon record, in any one note, exeation of Dr Parr as a scholar and as getical or illustrative, upon any one an author with perfect freedom from obscure or disputed passage of any all prejudice, anxious to give him the one classic, that he knew any thing fullest benefit of his real merits, and at all in the vast and interminable dismissing all unpleasant recollec- field of classical antiquities? The tions of that factious and intemperatė formulæ of the Roman calendar were character which he put forward in known to him as a writer of Latin epipolitics and divinity.
taphs. True, but those are mastered Dr Parr as an author! That very easily in ten minutes : did he know, word in our ear sounds ridiculous, even on that subject, any thing farapart from every question upon the
ther ? To take one case amongst a quality or value of what he wrote. thousand, when the year 1800 brought As a literary man, as a scholar, pre- up a question in its train—was it to pared by reading and research for be considered the last year of the appreciating a considerable propor- eighteenth century, or the first of the tion of the past or the current litera- nineteenth ? Did Dr Parr come forture—we are willing to concede that ward with an oracular determination Dr Parr stood upon somewhat higher of our scruples, or did he silently reground than the great body of his sign that pleading to the humble clerical brethren. But even this we hands of the laureate-Pye? Or say with hesitation. For it is scarce- again, shifting from questions of time ly to be believed, except by those to those of space, has Dr Parr conwho have gone with an observing tributed so much as his mite to the eye into English society, how many very interesting, important, and difrural clergymen go down to their ficult subject of classical geography ? graves unheard of by the world, and Yet these were topics which lay unacquainted with the press, unless within his beat as a schoolmaster. perhaps by some anonymous com- If we should come upon the still munication to a religious magazine, higher ground of divinity, and Chrisor by an occasional sermon; who tian antiquities, perhaps upon those have beguiled the pains of life by it might appear that 'Dr Parr had researches unusually deep into some absolutely no pretensions at all. But neglected or unpopular branches of not to press such questions too close
ly or invidiously, whatever might be one work of Dr Parr's is extant, the amount of his attainments under which can, without laughter, assume these heads, were it little or were it that important name. The preface much, scanty as the measure of our to Bellenden is, after all, by much faith in them, or co-extensive with the weightiest and most regular comthe vaunts of his friends,-still all position, and the least of a fugitive this has reference only to his general tract. Yet this is but a jeu d'esprit, capacity as a man of letters: whereas or classical prolusion. And we bewe are called upon to consider Dr lieve the case to be unexampled Parr also as an author; indeed we have that upon so slender a basis, a man now no other means for estimating of the world, and reputed a man of his posse as a scholar, than through sense, should set up for an author. his esse as a writer for the press. Well might the author of the Pursuits
This is our task; and this it is of Literature (1797) demand—“What which moves our mirth, whilst it has Dr Parr written? A sermon or two, taxes the worthy doctor and his rather long; a Latin preface to Belfriends with a spirit of outrageous Jendenus, (rather long too,) consistself-delusion. Dr Parr as an author! ing of a cento of Latin and Greek and what now might happen to be expressions, applied to political subthe doctor's works? For we protest, jects; another Preface to some Eng. upon our honour, that we Jish Tracts; and two or three English heard their names.
Was ever case Pamphlets about his own private like this ? Here is a learned doctor, quarrels—and this man is to be comwhose learned friend has brought pared with Dr Samuel Johnson !!" him forward as a first-rate author of [7th Edit. p. 219.] his times; and yet nothing is extant Certainly the world had never of his writing, beyond an occasional before seen so great a pomp of prepreface, or a pamphlet on private tension rising from so slight a ground. squabbles. But are not his "Opera The delusion was absolutely unriOmnia collected and published by valled, and prevailed throughout Dr this friendly biographer, and expand- Parr's long life. He and his friends ed into eight enormous tomes? True, seemed constantly to appeal to some and the eight tomes contain, severally, acknowledged literary reputation, the following hyperbolical amount of established upon foundations that pages :
could not be shaken, and notorious
to all the world. Such a mistake, 850
and in that extent, was never heard 701
of before.' Dr Parr talked, and his
friends listened, not only as giving 715 718
and receiving oracles of moral wis715
dom, but of wisdom owned as such 699
by all the world; whereas, this auc680
toritas (to borrow a Roman word for
its Roman sense) whether secretly 656
due to the Dr or not, evidently could Total, 5734
not exist as a fact, unless according
to the weight and popularity of pubYes! Five thousand seven hun lished works, by which the world dred and thirty-four octavo pages, had been taught to know him and many of them printed in a small type, respect bim. Starting, originally, are the apparent amount of Samuel from the erroneous assumption inParr's works in the edition of Dr sinuated by his preposterous selfJohnstone; and it is true, besides, conceit, that he was Johnson redivithat the very élite of his papers are vus, he adopted Johnson's colloquial omitted-such as his critical notices pretensions; and that was vain gloof books in the Monthly and Critical rious folly; but he also conceived Reviews, or the British Critic, and that these pretensions were familiar. his essay on the word Sublime, ad- ly recognised; and that was frenzy. dressed to Mr Dugald Stewart. Add To Johnson, as a known master in what is omitted, and the whole would a particular style of conversation, be little short of seven thousand every body gave way; and upon all pages. And yet, spite of that, not questions with moral bearings, he was