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resenting the First Person; and mercury, by its extreme fluidity, corresponding to the all-pervading influence of the Second the attributes of the Third Person being represented by the property which sulphur possesses of uniting salt and mercury. Fortunately for the sake of religion and morality, the progress of Parizot as a teacher was cut short, for his books —notwithstanding that he had presumptuously dedicated them, first, to the Supreme Being, and in the next place to the French Sovereign—were deservedly condemned, and publicly burned.
The career of John Mason, the selfstyled Messiah of Water Stratford, in En gland, affords a melancholy example of religious folly. Calm, acute, and intelligent in all worldly affairs, his consistent enthusiasm in matters of religion must have been founded on sincere conviction . Exorbitant as were his pretensions, they were received as genuine by a large mass of believers, whose faith in his mission was unshaken even long after his death, which happened in the year 1695. This extravagance recalls that of Johanna Southcote, the demented old woman, ignorant and ugly, who not only affected to believe herself about to bring forth a Redeemer, but also convince*d a number of fanatics, who, in the ardor of their enthusiasm, actually went the length of preparing a magnificent cradle, with appropriate fittings, for the new Messiah. However, the millennium which'she failed to introduce may yet pe inaugurated through the virtues of Elizibeth Cottle, of Kirkstall Lodge, Clapham Park, London. The name of this lady is, perhaps, new to our readers; but it is a name that the powers of the earth, including especially the Emperor of the French, the Cham of Tartary, Lord Russell, and John Bright, can not hear without a shudder. In her numerous addresses to these personages Miss Cottle proclaims herself an angel inspired to conclude all the little political and social difficulties of our epoch, and to regenerate the human race. Had the sovereigns of France and Sardinia availed themselves, on the occasion of the Italian war, of the analogy which she has been the means of discovering between the quadrilateral fortresses and the four centurions who kept watch before the prison in which St. Peter was
confined, the victories of Magenta and Solferino might have been dispensed with.
Montaigne, in his interesting essay on "The Art of Discoursing," observes that the reason why great men appear sometimes to be more foolish than they are, is that they undertake more than they are able to perform, and make a greater parade; w hereas he who has not exerted his full strength leaves you to guess whether he has been tried to the utmost that he is capable of doing. "This," he adds, "is the reason why there are so many more silly mortals among the learned than in other classes. Knowledge is a thing of great weight; they sink under it"
In the literary division of eccentricity we should not perhaps expect so much extravagance as obtains in the theologU cal; for the purely literary mind occupies itself more with the form of expression of common ideas, than with the elemental nature of the ideas themselves. Yet what numberless examples does history furnish us of great men, gifted with intellectual accomplishments, afflicted with degrees of insanity more or less intense—from moping melancholy to
"Moody madness laughing wild
Alfieri, Ariosto, and Dante were victims, during the greater part of their careers, to a settled melancholy; but the most remarkable example of mental depression joined to exuberant fancy is that presented in the case of the author of "Jerusalem Liberated." We can not contemplate, without experiencing a sensation of profound sympathy, the lifelong sufferings of the gentle Tasso, whose imagination, overwrought and undisciplined, filled him with exaggerated suspicions of all around him, while saperstitious terrors completed his misery. Wandering about for two yeai-s through his beautiful Italy, a prey to fanciful despondency, even while composing some of his works—sometimes taking refuge from imaginary foes in the trackless forests of the Appeniues; and anon surrendering himself to the Inquisition, and confessing, as heretical, doubts which the Inquisitors knew were but the illusions of hypochondria. Although at this period his mind had become much disordered by the opposition of critics, a fate which j he has shared with many of his class, it is doubtful whether his confinement in a' madhouse by the Duke of Este was at all justifiable. It was probably a mere act of retaliation for the reproaches and insults so freely directed by the poet against his former patrons for the altered manner adopted by the ducal court to-; wards him. But before the end of his seven years' confinement he undoubtedly | became a veritable Jack o' Beldam. And no wonder; for to a mind capable ofi evincing such exquisite sensibility as i characterizes his poetry, an incarceration of seven years in that terrible hospital of Santa Anna—
"That Fni.hr. laznr house of many woes,
Where laughter Whs not mirth, nor thought the i
mind, Nor words a language, noreven men mankind,"
must inevitably have produced that result His conviction, therefore, of the reality of his constant visitor from the spirit-world, with whom he freely conversed, or affected to converse, in the i presence of his friends, can only be | treated as the delusion of a diseased brain.
The eccentricities of Benvenuto Cellini and Jerome Cardan entitle them to a place in the catalogue of Fova Litteraires. Who is not familiarly acquainted with the quarrels and escapades of the ingenious Cellini, or has not shuddered at the thrilling description which he has left us, in his interesting memoirs, of those terrible nights in the Coliseum when, lighted by a globe of fire, the ampitheatre was tilled with legions of demons, with whom he conversed f We are constrained to believe that it was only an illusion practiced on his senses by the charlatan uA whose guidance Cellini committed j himself, and whose incantations are said to have raised the spirits from the nether i fires, as Cellini's character for general: veracity stands untarnished. Not so with Jerome Cardan, who was one of the , most celebrated of Italian physicians in; his day, but a consummate empiric; so addicted to the study of the occult sciences, and to the establishment of the truths of astrology, that having predicted the period of his own life, with a folly exceeding even that of Democritus, he is
asserted to have starved himself to death in order to verify his prediction.
The grandeur of Michael Angelo's ideas have procured for him the name of the "divine madman," as the harmless oddities of Goldsmith secured for him the soubriquet of "the inspired idiot;" but the inconsistencies of the great master were confined to the innovations which his sublime conceptions tended to introduce into the arts of painting and architecture.
The lamentable consequences attending excessive study, however, even when the subject is one connected with the sublime and beautiful in Art, are impressively exhibited in the life-long horror of Spinello, who, during his deep study for the picture of the Fallen Angels, kept his mind so especially concentrated on the conception of Lucifer, that the horrible shadow of the arch-demon was constantly before his eyes during the remainder of his existence. But though the sufferings of Spinello were of a sufficiently terrible nature, they sink into insignificance compared with the agonies of Jurien, whose intense study for the profound Analysis of the Apocalypse ended in the awful illusion that the beast of blasphemy, with ten heads and ten horns, and ten crowns on his hoi us, was pent up in his body, and preying on his vitals.
It has been observed that the friends of Pope ascribed his irascibility to a degree of " vapors" bordering on insanity. He himself also confesses that his niomeuts of unaccountable despondency were very frequent. Cowley, all whose latter productions are pervaded by the deepest despondency, describes himself, in "The Complaint," as "the melancholy Cowley ;" but his sadness is pronounced by his biographers as rather the result of disappointmfntthan of mental infirmity. The unhappy fate of poor Collins will continue to excite pity so long as the admirers of poetry shall find a charm in some of the most exquisite creations of genius which the English language contains. The poetical temper of Collins has been described by Johnson as " delighting to rove through the meadows of enchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of golden palaces, and repose by i' waterfalls of Elysiau gardens." T
was at the period when, in his own words,
"Hope, enchanted, smiled and waved her golden Imir."
But the bliss which he portrays in the ode in which the picture of Hope is so beautifully painted, was, as he says, short-lived. The disappointment of his literary expectations cast a gloom over his existence, and he descended through the paths of improvidence, dissipation, and destitution to the depths of misery. The picture of his later days is peculiarly affecting. After he had retired to his native city of Chichester, naktd, destitute, diseased, and in wild despair, he would haunt the aisles and cloisters of the cathedral, loving their
"Dim religious light;"
and when the choristers chanted their anthem, the listening and bewildered poet, carried out of himself by the solemn strains and his own too susceptible imagination, moaned and shrieked, and awoke a sadness and a terror in the minds of the audience, who beheld their friend, theirkinsman. and their poet before them, an awful image of human misery and ruined genius. It is in allusion to this circumstance that the line,
"Ye walls that echoed to his frantic moan,"
has been introduced into the epitaph on bis monument.
Cowper's mind, too, at one time so completely broke down, that he who wrote "The Task," and accomplished the still more arduous "task" of translating Homer's " Iliad," devoted himself to the childish occupation of taming hares, and constructing bird-cages, and traps for catching foxes. It is also a curious fact, that the humorous ballad of "John Gilpin," was composed during a fit of despondency so severe as to have nearly ended in his becoming a suicide. The well known anecdotes related of Grimaldi and Listen—both humorists by profession, but melancholies by nature —furnish additional illustrations of the extraordinary kind of connection which may sometimes exist between the agent and the action. A still more remarkable instance, perhaps, though not presenting such a strong contrast between cause and effect, is the event reported in the
life of Kotzebne, who once, in a fit of melancholy, contemplated suicide; but before he had earned out his purpose of self-destruction the mad impulse was diverted to his pen, and it is to this incident that we owe the impressive tragedy of "Misanthrophy and Repentance," better known under its English title of "The Stranger."
The inconsistencies of the moody, cynical, and superstitious Johnson, who inherited a melancholy from his rather which rendered him "occasionally mad, at least not sober," may suggest reasonable doubts of his sanity at all times. Possibly the privations and hardships of his early career may have affected his mind, otherwise it is diificult to conceive how so robust an understanding could have committed such freaks as standing bareheaded for an hour in a provincial market-place, in his mature age, to atone for a trivial act of disobedience in his boyhood; engaging the services of an assistant to pray with him, and knocking down a book-seller with a ponderous volume before the prayers were well concluded. Incredulous on all other points, he readily believed in miracles and apparitions; and while doubting the reality of the earthquake of Lisbon, he confessed his belief in the existence of the Cocklane ghost He even trembled at the thoughts of death, while he preached the vanities of life. The catalogue of his eccentricities would almost justify the biographer in classing the great doctor in his list of fools.
We need not dwell on the fate of Swift, whose life was one constant struggle between the exercise of physical energy and the chronic disease to which his great mind eventually succumbed. The reason—so cynical and morbid in its gaiety—which he assigns for the disposition of his property is not without significance among the many minor indications furnished by his eccentric life, of the sad catastrophe which was destined to overshadow the sun of his genius. He left, as he says,
"The little wraith he haj,
Smart, the translator of Horace, and
monument of talent and industry, the "Concordance to the Scriptures," evinced such decided symptoms of mental aberration as to justify their confinement in lunatic asylums; andLelaud, the laborious compiler of the " Collectanea," by the ap
Sropriation of portions of which Camen, Stowe, and Dray ton, the poet, entitled themselves to niches in the temple of Fame, ended his career in furious madness. We are accustomed to look upon Edmund Burke as presenting the grandest example of a well balanced mind; and yet the late Mr. Buckle, in his History of Civilization, has adduced certain ingenious reasons in support of a theory that he was for a time mad!
The mind of Shelley was constantly subject to painful illusions; and such was his habit of forgetfiilness, or mental abstraction, that, like Newton, who was "always thinking unto it," he frequently forgot to eat his dinner. Indeed it is observed of the latter that he was discovered one evening in his study, standing on one of the elevated steps of a ladder, in a reverie, with a huge volume on his shoulder, in which position he had passed the whole day. But the most extraordinary instance of forgetful ness, proceeding from abstraction, which the whole range of biography exhibits, is the circumstance recorded in the life of Castelli, the author of the Lexicon Heptaglotton, who lived in the reign of Charles II., and who devoted himself so assiduously, during seventeen years, to the study of oriental tongues, that he totally forgot his native language, which he was obliged to study and acquire like a foreign one.
The amulet discovered in Pascal's pocket, after his death, might not count for much in an estimate of his eccentricities; but his excessive nervousness amounted in some instances to actual mental disorder. His conduct was always marked by strong peculiarities; and late in life, even when he was a victim to physical infirmity, he frequently required to be / tied to his chair to prevent him from jumping, Curtius like, into the imaginary gulf which in fancy yawned before him withersoever he turned!
The indolence of literary men is proverbial. Ben Jonson was accustomed to lie in bed for a whole week after each drinking bout. Pope and Savage were
also remarkably indolent, notwithstanding the occasional activity of their meutal powers. But themost remarkable example of this peculiarity of the learned, and of the poetic class especially, is exhibited in the life of Thomson, the accomplished author of the Seasons, who, as Ly ttleton pithily observed, left
"Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
The erudition displayed in his exquisite poems would justify his being ranked among the most industrious and laborious of the intellectual class; and yet his habitual physical indolence was such that he was discovered one day in a garden, j nibbling at a pear which hung invitingly near, his hands inserted in his pockets, ; from which, as he confessed, he was too I lazy to withdraw them.
The affinity which Shakspeare described as existing between love and i madness has never been more completely : illustrated in the case of an author, than j in the unfortunate career of the poet, Na! thaniel Lee, who died in the early part , of the last century. Having been disapI pointed in a love affair in early lite, his mind gave way before the profound grief in which he was plunged by the defeat of his expectations. During intervals of I sanity he composed poems which extorted the praise of even the critical Addison; but any one reading the thoughts which he puts into the mouth of one of his love-sick girls, will see that his passion must have been that of a vehemently mad lover. Even while an inmate of a lunatic asylum, his fertile but incoherent mind produced some of the most vigorous verses in the English language. In his poems he laughably intermingles sentiments of resignation, love, and religion, with furious assaults upon his supposed enemies and extravagant apostrophes to the elements. His biographer relates that the memorable words, "Jove, snuff the moon!" which appear in one of the plays composed by Lee, were penned by him just at the moment when a cloud passed over that orb, by the light of which he was writing the scene in which the expression occurs. And the idea appeared to him so singularly happy, that he insisted on retaining the expression as it exists in the published copy, notwithstanding the reiterated remonstrances of his friends.
The catalogue of the purely literary men whose conduct diverged, more or less, from the path of healthy reason, is, in fact, prodigious. We may mention the names of Chatterton, Colton, Keats, Hayden, Ferguson, the Scotch poet, who ended his days in a madhouse, Burns, Byron, Kirk White, and the unfortunate Clarence Mangau, as among those of the celebrated men whose lives should be written in the Encyclopedia of Eccentricity.
One of the most conspicuous characteristics of insanity is the feebleness of the logical faculty. Hence it follows that the eccentricities and speculations of philosophers and men of science, addicted to reasoning On abstract principles, and to developing the connection between cause and effect, are sometimes of a most extravagant kind. And it is curious, too, that philosophy is of all subjects the most attractive to lunatics. The humble toiler at the mill, or the unlettered field laborer, afflicted with madness, fancies himself a Plato so soon as he finds himself the inmate of a lunatic asylum. The writer of this paper was much struck with the case of a patient whom he lately saw, totally ignorant of mechanics, who has been ten years engaged in the task of inventing a monster gun which would destroy the world, and the result of whose exertions during that period consists in an oval line descriptive of the circumference of the carriage wheel!
points, the man sense and intelli
And yet, on other evinces much good gence.
A deplorable instance of mad philosophy is furnished in the life of the late Thomas Wirgman, a well-known London character about thirty years ago. Wirgman amassed a fortune of £50,000, as a goldsmith, which he squandered as a regenerating philosopher. Determined that his publications should attract attention, if not for their contents, at least for their appearance, he had paper specially made for the books, the same sheet consisting of several different colors. The production of one small volume, "The Devarication of the New Testament," involved the enormous expenditure of £3,000. But although devoted to the dis
semination of his principles, the adoption of which, he observes, could alone secure the throne of these realms to the reigning dynasty, he, with strange inconsistency, restricted the circulation of his volumes —one of which was a grammar of the five senses, a metaphysical treatise for the use of children—to the number of twenty copies. Another illustration, hardly less deplorable, is presented in the case of a certain John Stewart, who died in London in the year 1822, after having nearly accomplished the circuit of the globe in the endeavor to discover the "polarization of moral truth." The result of his researches appeared, from time 'to time, in the shape of several volume*: and as he apprehended that the kings of | the earth would form a league for the ] purpose of destroying the books, he I begged of his friends that they would carefully wrap up some copies so as to preserve them from moisture, and bury them seven feet under ground, taking care on their deathbeds to declare, under the seal of secrecy, the places where the treasures had been deposited I
Was Cardinal Frederick Borromeo less mad when he endowed one of the Italian public libraries, containing 40,000 volumes of which no catalogue is permitted to be made on pain of forfeiture of the funds bequeathed by the founder?
The learned men of Italy, in the year 1529, were much excited by the publics ! tion of a work by Joseph Bernard!, in which he maintained, among other curious doctrines, that monkeys were endowed with the faculty of speech, but were exceedingly jealous of practising it from a reasonable fear least they should be made slaves of by men. Absurd as the theory may now seem, it was then thought worthy of refutation. Indeed, it is not a century since the notorious Lord Monboddo excited much ridicule • by maintaining the existence of satyrs and mermaids, and by his assertion of a close affinity between the monkey race and the race of man. Nevertheless, should Mr. Darwin's views on the ori1 gin of species obtain universal assent, we must only rank Bernardi and Lord Monboddo with Roger Bacon, Columj bus, Descartes, "the Starry Gallileo," 'and many other great men who passed : for madmen in their day, but the subse