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blaze of light-like dull reality dashing the last vestiges of the brightest of dreams. When the moon is “hid in her vacant interlunar cave," and not a star can “ burst its cerements," in the dim blank imagination droops her wings-our thoughts become of the earth earthy-and poetry seems a pastime fit but for fools and children. But how different our mood, when
“Glows the firmament with living sapphire !" and Diana, who has ascended high in heaven, without our having ever once observed the divinity, bends her silver bow among the rejoicing stars, while the lake, like another sky, seems to contain its own luminaries, a different division of the constellated night! 'Tis merry Windermere no more! Yet we must not call her me. lancholy—though somewhat sad she seems, and pensive, as if the stillness of universal nature did touch her heart. How serene all the lights-how peaceful all the shadows! Steadfast alike-as if there they would brood for everyet transient as all loveliness—and at the mercy of every cloud! In some places, the lake has disappeared in others the moonlight is almost like sunshine-only silver instead of gold! Here spots of quiet light—there lines of trembling lustre--and there a flood of radiance chequered by the images of trees! Lo! the isle called Beautiful has now gathered upon its central grove all the radiance issuing from that celestial urn ! And almost in another moment it seems blended with the dim mass of mainland, and blackness enshrouds the woods.
Still as seems the night to unobservant eyes, it is fluctuating in its expression as the face of a sleeper overspread with pleasant but disturbing dreams. Never for any two successive moments is the aspect of the night the sameeach smile has its own meaning, its own character—and light is felt to be like music, to have a melody and a harmony of its own—so mysteriously allied are the powers and provinces of eye and ear, and by such a kindred and congenial agency do they administer to the workings of the spirit.
Well, that is very extraordinary-Rain-rain-rain ! All the eyes of heaven were bright as bright might be
the sky was blue as violets-that braided whiteness, that here and there floated like a veil on the brow of night, was all that recalled the memory of clouds—and as for the moon, no faintest halo yellowed round her orb that seemed indeed “one perfect chrysolite;"'-—yet while all the winds seemed laid asleep till morn, and beauty to have chained all the elements into peace-overcast in a moment is the firmament-an evanishing has left it blank as mist—there is a fast, thick, pattering on the woodsyes-rain-rain-rain-and ere we reach Bowness, the party will be wet through to their skins. Nay-matters are getting still more serious—for there was lightninglightning! Ten seconds ! and hark, very respectable thunder! With all our wisdom, we have not been weatherwise-or we should have known-when we saw it-an electrical sunset. Only look now towards the west. There floats Noah's Ark-a magnificent spectacle and now for the flood. That far-off sullen sound is the sound of cataracts. And what may mean that sighing and moaning, and muttering up among the cliffs ? See —see how the sheet lightning shows the long lake-shore all tumbling with foamy breakers. A strong wind is there-but here there is not a breath. But the woods across the lake are bowing their heads to the blast. Windermere is in a tumult—the storm comes flying on wings all abroad—and now we are in the very heart of the hurricane. See in Bowness is hurrying many a lightfor the people fear we may be on the lake and Billy, depend on't, is launching his lifeboat to go to our assistance. Well, this is an adventure.-But soft—what ails our argand lamp! Our study is in such darkness, that we cannot see our paper—and therefore in the midst of a thunderstorm we conclude our article.
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1830.)
Now, we are no philosopher at all, although we are about to philosophize; but we should never take up a pen, or a gun, or a jug again, did we not bumbly, but firmly, believe that Christopher North—and many thousand other people flourishing in shade or sunshineknows ten, twenty, fifty times as much and more of the human mind, and all its inward concerns, than Sir James Mackintosh. The general haziness and wateriness of all his disquisitions show that he is—if not absolutely shallow-far, far indeed from being profound; but that he cannot be himself, in any sense however limited, a great writer, let one sentence prove-one sentence of portentous solly. “ The admirable writer whose language has occasioned this illustration, who at an early age hab
OF COMPOSITION, will doubtless hold fast to simplicity, which survives all the fashions of deviation from it, and which a man of a genius so fertile has few temptations to forsake.” Of whom does Sir James here speak? Credite, posteri, Thomas BABINGTON M.AULEY! Here is a man who has taken upon himself the task, which the entire tone of his treatise informs us that, in his own opinion, he has successfully performed, of appreciating justly and finely the powers and productions of all moral philosophers in all ages; and who has either the stupidity to think, or the effrontery to say it without thinking it, unblushing and brazen both, that a clever lad or boy, who but a year or two ago began to shave his chin, and who has not even attempted any
MASTERED EVERY SPECIES
kind of composition at all, but a prize poem, neither better nor worse than prize poems generally are—that is groan. ingly stupid and a few flashy and frothy, but neither uneloquent nor uningenious articles in the Edinburgh Review—such as his critiques on Milton, Dante, and Machiavelli—has MASTERED EVERY SPECIES OF COMPOSITION ! Well might such a judge of “every species of composition” disparage and undervalue the metaphysical genius and achievements of Dr. Thomas Brown! One such insane sentence vitiates all his judgment on all matters either of philosophy or of common sense; and proves him either to be utterly destitute of all true discernment, or capable of sacrificing his regard to truth, and decency, and reputation, to the whim and caprice of a childish friendship. Does it not ?
Sir James, somewhere or other, touches on the connexion between Genius and Virtue--and as we have often required of ourselves a comparison between these divinities, we glowered on his page with all our faculties of soul and sense, but could see nothing. Sir James had to draw upon his own stores for any thing he might say on that subject, for none of the wise-men or wiseacres who are among the number of his familiars, have, we believe, more than touched it—but the meanness and misery of his lean lucubrations, betray the scantiness and bareness of the pastures on which they have been fed. It is always so with Sir James. He has built some large haystacks, and filled some large barns with wheatsheaves, but all the provender and victual has been bought or borrowed; and on walking through his farm, we are pained to see the state both of meadow and arable—the one brown in spite of much irrigation, and the other in vain all lying in summer-fallow; nor can we hope, that in any future autumn it will ever produce a crop.
Now let us do for Sir James what Sir James would not, because he could not, do for us, and other Scotch ignoramuses, who know nothing of the human mind, Let us at least give him a few hints ; nor let him refuse to hear them, though, unlike that fortunate youth, Mr. Thomas Babington M'Auley, so far from having-even in our old age-mastered every species of composition,"
we have not the skill even of a journeyman in any, and but in one the power of an apprentice.
Now, without attempting in this sheepfold to define either genius or virtue, allow us here to just jot down a few memoranda. Genius and virtue are felt-by us at least at this moment-to be founded in the capacity, experience, and desire of happiness.
Genius is of as many kinds as the human intellectual powers have modes of exertion and application-differing either by the internal and metaphysical constitution of its action, or by its matter external to the spirit. Let us then compare genius, for a few moments, in respect, first, of its universal, and, secondly, of its particular conditions, with virtue. If we utter nonsense, there is no harm done, for we are bothering nobody in the sheepfold-and should Gurney extend these our shorthand notes, and Ebony, in our absence, admit this part of our article into Maga, let all readers skip the pages if they please till we get into Gleno.
First, then, virtue produces pleasure. Now, we consider happiness as a sum of durable pleasures. Pleasures are the items and moments of happiness to the individual mind, by which it is exerted, consonant with, and causing, the pleasure of other minds. In like manner does not genius produce pleasure to the individual mind in which it acts, consonant with and causing the pleasure of other minds? It does. So far the comparision holds good.
How far do they resemble each other in their origin? Virtue is born of pleasure and pain. For it arises, according to our sacred belief, first out of consciousness of certain capacities of pleasures—perhaps rather out of consciousnesses of all the capacities of pleasure which were awakened by, or consisted in, so many experiences of pleasure. Soon there ensues a comparison of one kind of pleasure with another, out of which grows preference of the more durable. Also there ensues, perhaps not wholly upon this comparison, but in some mysterious way we know not, a preferring surrender of sensibility and desire to certain modes of pleasure, which appear, in the result, to have been those most agreeing with the happiness of others; e. g. to the pleasure of loving others.