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66 of the great
NATURALISTS have said that the power of the flying-fish has been given to it for the purpose of avoiding its powerful enemies of the deep. What, then, have the poor herrings done, that they should not fly? for they, too, have their enemies, no less
“ swallowing them quick," than Buonaparte was the bishops, who prayed so fervently against the voracious propensities leviathan.” But this is not the worst of it; for after all, the gift bestowed, (or said to be given) as a special mark of good, on the flying-fish, was only a mauvaise plaisanterie: for he no sooner pops his head above water,
than he encounters a new enemy, in certain sea-birds, equally Catholic in their fish-eating devotion; which force the wretched victim back to his native element, leaving it only the choice between becoming a constituent portion of a shark or an albatross. This is a distressing image, and the new-light doctrine is a relief to the fancy, which teaches that the flyingfish launches into the air in pursuit of pleasure, and is led only by an exuberance of temperament to sport in the sunshine, and sparkle in the waters, in all the happy wantonness of a joyous existence.
Who has not felt this buoyancy of spirit, this disposition to fly, when under the strong excitement of health and spirits ? “ Portez-vous bien," says that true philosopher, St. Evremont, “ voilà à quoi tout doit aboutir.” “Be well: that is the end to which all things should be directed :" but to this end how many of the elements of life must mingle. It is curious to observe the rapid changes which take place in our existence quite independently of external circumstance,—the light boundings of the spirit, the high beatings of the heart, unassignable to any foreign cause ; and then the depressing laboured respiration, and sinking of the soul, though unconscious of a real sorrow.
Even our dreams are under the influence of these inexplicable conditions. The aged and the hypochondriac never dream of Aying; and even the young and the happy awaken sometimes under the influence of impressions, more painful to feel than easy to account for.
The temperament of genius is peculiarly susceptible to these alterations of organic elasticity and depression. It is a true flying-fish of moral life, sporting in the sunshine, and shrinking under the cloud. Even philosophy itself takes its colour from the constitution. Optimism is the mere creation of a“ pleased alacrity and cheer of mind;" and the Epicurean is but another word for a man who digests well ; while the Cynic is only to be argued with by calomel. This may appear all very fanciful; but it has a practical corollary of undoubted certainty; and that is,—when you feel misanthropy and disgust creeping on you, instead of penning a diatribe against the nature of things, take a long walk. Air and exercise-a flying-fish excursion into the sunshine, are worth a whole army of syllogisms for harmonizing the pulses of thought. Nature is the poet's true book of reference. It was Shakspeare's. The nature of the French poets, even in their Augustine age, was Versailles, and the coteries, literary and gallant, de la cour et la ville.
Du Clos has some admirable things in his excellent memoir of Louis XIV. Here is one :-“ Nulie persécution, beaucoup d'indifférence, et d'oubli, c'est la mort de toutes les sectes."*
Madame D'Epinay, in her Shew up Book of the Church and State society of France, before the Revolution, draws a picture of this author, peint en charge. Still he was an admirable writer, and appears
to have been an honest man.
* “No persecution, and plenty of indifference or forgetfulness, would be the death of all sects."
What a horrible thing it is to be ashamed of one's old friends, merely because they are old-fashioned. The other day some “ English epicures,” topsawyers of London ton, dined with us, when a dropper-in, from Connaught, took a place (left vacant by a late apology). I had dined with my provincial guest many years back, and thought it the greatest possible honour to be asked to his Castle Rackrent. He then appeared to me a very fine person, and his table a very fine table. But, horror of horrors ! what were my feelings when, uncovering the entrée next him, before the
soup was removed, he asked one of the most noted Amphitryons of the day, if he should help him to some of the savories; and when, after calling bouilli, bully-beef! petits-pâtés, mutton-pies ! soup, broth! crême-au-pistache, "raspberry crame !" and fondue, “podden !” he ended by sending back