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little use ;
-our pity for the weak, the poor, and the suffering-our scorn for insolence and pretension, for what is false, mean, and base. And though their weapons are sometimes misused and misdirected, and from their hearts sometimes proceed scoffing or ribaldry, where there ought to be reverence and love, yet let us be thankful for what their genius has left us as a priceless bequest-for their glee, which lightens humanity, and smiles away the fretting thoughts of care and suffering.
We have turned aside from more practical studies to consider a subject which the utilitarian may regard as of very
yet we do not undervalue those studies which are necessary for the free development and complete training of the human mind. But for the mind to be healthy and strong, for it to reach the utmost perfection compatible with its nature, it must have recreation, even in its studies. A wise and eminently practical man has said, “Cultivate, not only the corn-fields of your mind, but the pleasure-gardens also.” To do this, we cannot do better than to cultivate the capacity for wit and humour, and keep open the natural resources of the mind to all their social and humanizing influences; and we shall soon discover that those movements of the mind which we generalize under the names of wit and humour, are not merely sportive, but that they are also closely allied to the deepest feelings and strongest passions of our nature, and form part and parcel of the world's literature and life.
"The good, the gentle, high-gifted, ever-friendly, noble Dickens every inch of him an honest man.”—Thomas Carlyle.
OWEVER much we may call this an unromantic
age, an age of utility, logic, and science, yet imagination plays now as an important part in human affairs as it ever has done. By imagination we mean that creative power, or call it by whatsoever name you may, which is the element of every great mind; that grand poetic faculty which inspires the mighty artist, poet, or novelist, and which pours out its creative energy upon the sublimest works of philosophy and history. The works of imagination have outlived, and they are likely to outlast, all the other works of man. Our earliest historical traditions are preserved in poetry, and it is poetry which has made history imperishable. “The philosophy of history,” it has been well said, “may be denominated the philosophy of romance.”
In our own literature how large a portion of poetry and fiction has been preserved in every age! This will always be so, for the human heart is ever the same in every generation: it aspires after something better than the events of our common life, and craves for more satis