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elaborate discussion, but by direct appeal to educated common sense. Is it more likely that these marvels actually occurred as narrated, or that the witnesses to them were deceived by their own imaginings?
The history of Epidemic Delusions affords such abundant evidence as to the former prevalence of what are now universally regarded as the most absurd beliefs, that those who have no more than a general acquaintance with it can have no difficulty in finding parallels to that on which we have now been commenting. Not more than two centuries ago, for example, the transportation of witches through the air, that they might take part in the unholy orgies of their creed, and hold sexual commerce with evil Spirits, was not only testified in courts of justice by multitudes of witnesses, but was admitted by the culprits themselves, many of whom went to the stake with the heroism of martyrs witnessing a good confession' to what they honestly believed to be true. If we once begin to try such affirmations by the test of reason, we should perchance find ourselves obliged to acquiesce in the dictum of Dr. Johnson, that nothing proves the non-existence of witches; or, in the conclusion of one of our greatest modern logicians—who had devoted himself so exclusively to the science of Reasoning as to be unfitted for that practical appreciation of the value of Evidence, on which we depend in the judgments of every-day life--that the Spiritualist doctrine has a better claim to acceptance than any of the other thousand-and-one explanations that might be given of the phenomena,
The insight we have gained in the course of this inquiry into the gullibility, not merely of the average public, but of many of those who command its respect, either as teachers of religion or as successful scientific investigators, has made us reflect seriously as to what it is in our present system of education which constitutes the chief predisposing cause' of the Spiritualist epidemic. And after the best comparison we have been able to make between the mental condition of the classes who have most severely suffered from it, and that of the classes who have been least affected, we have come to the conclusion that part, at least, of this predisposition depends on the deficiency of early scientific training. Such training ought to include—(1), the acquirement of habits of correct observation of the phenomena daily taking place around us; (2), the cultivation of the power of reasoning upon these phenomena, so as to arrive at general principles by the inductive process; (3), the study of the method of testing the validity of such inductions by experiment; and (4), the deductive application of principles thus acquired to the prediction 2 A 2
of phenomena which can be verified by observation. We speak with knowledge when we say that a tenth of the time which is devoted, in an ordinary school curriculum, to the study of abstractions, will suffice for the culture (if judiciously directed) of the power of bringing the reasoning faculties to bear on objective realities, not only without disadvantage to his other studies, but with a manifest improvement in the pupil's power of apprehending the real meaning of abstractions which had previously perplexed him. Now it is among purely literary men, whose minds have seldom been exercised upon anything but abstractions, that we have witnessed most ready surrender to the seductions of Spiritualism ; the distinction between objective realities and the creations of their own imaginations being often extremely ill-defined; and the testimony borne by Science to the want of trustworthiness of what they assume to be the evidence of their own senses, being scornfully repudiated. On the other hand, those who have either gone through the discipline of such an early scientific training as we have advocated, or have (like Faraday) conscientiously imposed it upon themselves at a later period, are usually the last persons to become possessed by the delusions of this pseudo-science; or, if they should have perchance been attracted by them for a time, they speedily come to discern their fallacy.
Our belief that the early education of the scientific witnesses who have come forward to testify to the reality of the Physical manifestations of Spiritualism, was not such as to develope the power of scientific discrimination, is fully justified, as we have shown, by the thoroughly unscientific manner in which they have conducted their investigations, and reported their results. Let any who may accuse us of underrating the competency of these witnesses, merely because we have ourselves come to a foregone conclusion as to the incredibility of their statements, compare the narratives of Dr. Hare and Mr. Crookes with Professor Faraday's · Letters on Table-turning,' and Professor Chevreul's treatise on the Baguette Divinatoire.'* The latter are models of scientific inquiry on a subject rendered peculiarly difficult by the interposition of the human element; the former, as we have shown, are conspicuous for the absence of true scientific method.
But there is a positive as well as a negative defect in the prevailing mental organisation of our time, which shows itself in the unhealthy craving for some sign' that shall testify to the reality of the existence of disembodied spirits, while the legitimate influence of the noble lives and pregnant sayings of the great and good who have gone before us is proportionately ignored. Putting aside, as beyond the scope of our present inquiry, those questions of high Philosophy, which arise out of inodern ideas of the relation between Matter and Force, Body and Spirit, we would fearlessly leave it to the good sense of any right-minded person, whether he would surrender the enduring and inspiring memories impressed on his inner soul by the counsels and example of a wise father, by the affectionate sympathy of a tender and judicious mother, by the cordial unselfishness of a generous-hearted brother, by the self-sacrificing devotion of a loving sister, or by the guileless simplicity of an innocent child, for any communications they could send him by rappings or table-tiltings. Or, to turn from these to influences of a wider scope, who that early felt his intellect expanded and his aspirations elevated by the noble thoughts put forth in the · Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, and has endeavoured, however imperfectly, to make them the guide of his own scientific life; who that recently joined with the most eminent representatives of every department of British science in attending to their last resting place in the national mausoleum the honoured remains of one whom all acknowledged to be their master, could wish that the spirit of a Herschel should be asked to give evidence of its continued existence by playing a tune on an accordion or rapping out a line of his · Astronomy??
* This admirable treatise, which was not published until after the appearance of our former article, entirely contirms, by a most elaborate and conclusive series of investigations, the views we had ourselves expressed in regard to the ‘Divining Rod.'
It happened to us, within a few weeks after that mournful ceremony, to follow to the same resting place the not less honoured remains of one whom we had come to regard with no inferior veneration, not so much for his great erudition and varied intellectual ability, as for his rare—we might almost say unprecedented—combination of unswerving justice tempered by the most gracious kindliness, of perfect unselfishness, animated by the most enlarged philanthropy. Of all the memories in our spiritual Valhalla, that of George Grote stands pre-eminent for those qualities which have commanded our respect and inspired our personal attachment. Who that has had the privilege of not only observing the public course of our modern Aristides, but of sharing in the amenities of his private life, could wish anything better for himself, than that the spirit of his departed friend should be his own constant and life-long guide ; so that whenever its close may arrive, he too may be deemed worthy of the eulogy so appropriately bestowed on our great historian from the grand old words—The just shall be held in everlasting remembrance.'
Art. II.—Lord Byron. Von Karl Elze. Berlin, 1870. THI THE book before us, of which an English translation is in hand,
is a biographical and critical essay on the noble poet and his works, containing a conscientiously accurate summary of his life and an impartial estimate of his genius. It will help to correct many erroneous notions, and it offers the opportunity which we have long coveted of analysing and (if possible) fixing the existing state of opinion regarding him, in especial relation to the living poet whose name is most frequently pronounced in rivalry.
• Byron, indisputably the greatest poetical genius that England has produced since Shakespeare and Milton. Such is the commencement of the notice of Byron in the last edition of the Conversations-Lexicon,' and we have ascertained by careful inquiry that it may be accepted as the exact representative of enlightened Germany upon this as upon most other subjects of thought, speculation, or philosophy. Herr Elze says, . In the four head-divisions of poetry, English literature has produced four
unapproached men of genius: Shakespeare in the dramatic: Milton in the reflecting, so far as this can be regarded as a peculiar species: Scott in the epic; and Byron in the lyricalthe lyrical understood in the widest sense as subjective poetry.' The intended supremacy is clear, although the lines of demarcation are not so well defined as could be wished. Turning to the rest of the continent, whether north or south-to Russia and Poland, to France, Italy, and Spain-and consulting the highest authorities dead and living, printed and oral, we arrive at a similar conclusion. The result of our persevering researches and persistent interrogatories is everywhere throughout Europe, that Byron is deemed the greatest poet that England has produced for two centuries; and although the same unanimity may not be found across the Atlantic as to the amount of his pre-eminence, although he does not there rise so high above his competing predecessors or contemporaries as to dwarf or overshadow them, he takes
precedence by common consent of all.
“Tennyson, one of the most distinguished modern English lyrical poets. Such is the commencement of the notice of Mr. Tennyson in the Lexicon; and that it will startle his English admirers, we infer from its first effect upon ourselves. But tame and depreciatory as this description may sound to ears. ringing with the music of his verse, it is one which would be deemed just and adequate by the bulk of the reading public of Germany, or the reading public of any country that knew him chiefly by translation. It would not satisfy the reading public of the United States, where his popularity is little inferior to that which he enjoys in England, but with this material difference. It is not an exclusive popularity. It coexists with the popularity of other poets whose influence is deemed antagonistic to him amongst us, especially with that of Byron; and the main object of this article is to bring the English mind into better agreement with the Anglo-American mind on this subject, or, in other words, to reclaim a befitting and appropriate pedestal for Byron without disturbing Mr. Tennyson or his school. It is the comparative, not the positive, reputation of the author of the “Idylls' that we dispute. Let him be read and applauded as much as ever, by all means; let due meed of praise be ungrudgingly continued to those of his immediate contemporaries who cluster round him as their chief, or have adopted him as their model, or, essentially unlike as they are, have repaired to the same altar for their fire; but let the fitting honour be also vindicated and reserved for those whom they have temporarily superseded in popular estimation, far more by an accidental concurrence of opinions and events than by merits which will stand the test of time and command the judgment of posterity.
Foreign nations, in their independence of local influences, resemble and represent posterity : foreign nations have already given their verdict in the cause which we propose to bring before the home tribunal; and before appealing from that verdict on the ground that foreign nations mostly know the productions of the contrasted poets by translation, it would be well to meditate on this
of Goethe: 'I honour both rhythm and rhyme, by which poetry first becomes poetry, but the properly deep and radically operative-the truly developing and quickening, is that which remains of the poet, when he is translated into prose. The inward substance then remains in its purity and fullness; which, when it is absent, a dazzling exterior often deludes with the semblance of, and, when it is present, conceals.'*
Whether a poet is translated into verse or prose, he will be appreciated in his new form in proportion to the amount of thought, reflection, palpable imagery, or, what Goethe calls inward substance,' embodied in the original. Grace or felicity
* *Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit,' Th. 3, B. 11. "It would be a most easy task to prove that not only the language of a large portion of every good poem, even of the most elevated character, must necessarily, except with reference to the metre, in no respect differ from that of good prose, but likewise that some of the most interesting parts of the best poems will be found to be strictly the language of prose when prose is well written.' (Wordsworth, Preface to the * Lyrical Ballads.') The obvious inference is that the best poems are those which-cæteris paribus—will best bear literal or prose translation.