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he had a slow fever, which made him take all possible care not to inflame his blood. I admired his prudence, but in his particular instance could not very clearly discern the need of it. Pump water will not heat him much, and to speak a little in his own style, more inebriating fluids are to him, I fancy, not very attainable.'
In writing to Mr. Unwin on the subject of prosecuting a swindler
“But I would disappoint him, and show him, that although a Christian is not to be quarrelsome, he is not to be crushed; and that, though he is a worm before God, he is not such a worm as every selfish unprincipled wretch may tread on at his pleasure.
*I lately heard a story from a lady, wlio has spent many years of her life in France, somewhat to the present purpose. An abbé, universally esteemed for his piety, and especially for the meekness of his manners, bad yet, undesignedly, given offence to a shabby fellow in his parish. The man, concluding he might do as he liked with so gentle and forgiving a character, struck him on one cheek, and bade him turn the other. The good man did so, and when he had received the two slaps, which he thought himself bound to submit to, turned again and beat him soundly. I do not wish to see you follow the French gentleman's example, but I believe nobody that has heard the story condemns him much for the spirit he showed on the occasion.'
The tenderness of his mind was such that no object was excluded from it. Unhappy, and sometimes despairing
himself, he overflowed with love and affection for others. No lapse of time could deaden his friendship; he had suffered much, and, therefore, knew to love much. Instances of this compassion are abundant; they break on the reader where he least expects them; and they seem almost like the breathings of a seraph, who forgets all selfishness as he pours out his heavenly music.
. Let me add,' he says to Mr. Bull, in one of his desponding letters, there is no encouragement in the Scriptures so comprehensive as to include my case, nor any consolation so effectual as to reach it. I do not relate it to you because you could not believe it; you would agree
you could. And yet the sin by which I am excluded from the privileges I once enjoyed you would account no sin-you would even tell me it was a duty. This is strange; you will think me mad; but I am not mad, most noble Festus; I am only in despair; and those powers of mind which I possess are only permitted to me for my amusement at some times, and to enhance my misery at others. I have not even asked a blessing on my food these ten years, nor do I expect that I shall ever ask it again. Yet I love you, and such as you, and determine to enjoy your friendship while I can; it will not be longwe must soon part for ever.'
Is not this burst of tenderness wonderfully touching, flashing like a sunbeam through the clouds and shadows of his despair ?
• I have, indeed, been lately more dejected and more distressed than usual,' he says to Mr. Newton; ‘more harassed by dreams in the night, and more keenly poisoned by them in the following day. ... I now see a long winter before me, and must get through it as I can. I know the ground before I tread upon it; it is hollow-it is agitated it suffers shocks in every direction-it is like the soil of Calabria, all whirlpool and undulation; but I must reel through it—at least, if I be not swallowed up by the way. . . . Be pleased to remember us both with much affection to Mrs. Newton, and to her and your Eliza; to Miss Catlett likewise, if she is with you. Poor Eliza droops and languishes, but in the land to which she is going she will hold up her head and droop no more. A sickness that leads the way to everlasting life is better than the health of an antediluvian. Accept our united love.'
* In the land to which she is going she will hold up her head, and droop no more.' Oh, what a tender heart was here, to pour such comfort into the hearts of parents as they sorrowed over their drooping child. To look away from the anguish sitting heavy on his own heart, and remember that his friends too had a bitter anguish to endure.
But, though he was ever tender, he was not always in despair. His despondency, at times, came heavily upon him ; but he had many seasons of true religious joy. We cannot, of course, expect to find these chronicled in his letters. When a man meets with such seasons, he communes with his own heart, and is still; he does not rush to the house-top, trumpet in hand, to tell it to the world. But occasional glimpses into the depths of his belief are vouchsafed to us: among those best suited to us, in this place, are the following:
• I am not so dim-sighted, sad as my spirit is at times, but that I can see God's providence going before me in the way.
Unforeseen, unhoped-for advantages have sprung up at his bidding, and a prospect, at first cloudy indeed and discouraging enough, has been continually brightening.' • He who has preserved me hitherto will still preserve me.
All the dangers that I have escaped are so many pillars of remembrance, to which I shall hereafter look back with comfort, and be able, as I well hope, to inscribe on every one of them a grateful memorial of God's singular protection of me. Mine has been a life of wonders for many years, and a life of wonders I in my heart believe it will be to the end. Wonders I have seen in the great deeps, and wonders I shall see in the paths of mercy also. This is my creed.'
Oh!'he exclaims elsewhere, I could spend whole days and moonlight nights in feeding upon a lovely prospect. My eyes drink the rivers as they flow. If every human being could think for one quarter of an hour as I have done for many years, there might per
haps be many miserable men among them, but not an unawakened one could be found from the arctic to the antarctic circle. At present, the difference between them and me is greatly to their advantage. I delight in baubles, and know them to be such, for rested in and viewed without a reference to their Author, what is the earth, what are the planets, what is the sun itself but a bauble? ... Their eyes have never been opened to see that they are trifles; mine have been and will be, till they are closed for ever. They think a fine estate, a large conservatory, a hothouse with a West-India garden, things of consequence, visit them with pleasure, and muse upon them with ten times
I am pleased with a frame of four lights, doubtful whether the few pines it contains will ever be worth a farthing; amuse myself with a green-house that Lord Bute's gardener could take upon his back and walk away with; and when I have paid it the accustomed visit, and watered it, and given it air, I say to myself, “This is not mine; it is a plaything lent me for the present. I must leave it soon.'
Who would not wish to be of a mind like this? There is no passion here, nor wrangling for renown. Are we not triflers in the pleasure-grounds of Time, if we are looking there for our happiness—if the conservatories and the flowers are more than toys and baubles to us, which we play with, knowing we must leave them soon?
With regard to the literary character of Cowper's ‘Letters, we have little to say. Few compositions are without faults; but these are among the few. We know of no heedless commonplaces in them; no liberties taken either with his correspondents or his subjects. He wrote in perfect seriousness, even when most humorous; for it was his nature to be serious and in earnest. He did not mount stilts when he paid his written visits to his friends, neither did he amble or tumble for their amusement. He lived retired from the world, and therefore dared to be natural. The literature of these letters is not, however, their chief recommendation. Some books depend for their livelihood upon their garniture and outside show, but this does not. The garb of Cowper's thoughts was always simple without meanness, elegant without being gaudy. Their chief charm is the unaffected love for others which they breathe; the constant wish, that if their writer could not himself be happy, others might. He had a large soul, the ventage of which was worth all the laboured compositions it could compass. It was like a river, which is purest and sweetest when flowing unrestrained by dykes, and uninterrupted by locks, and waterfalls, and mills, and which bears verdure, and health, and beauty, to all things it approaches. We would extend our extracts, but must not linger to cull
any more flowers even in this pleasant place. We will cast one look, like the Parthians, behind us, while we speed on, and then have done; we will set these three contemporaries side by side, and see what their work has been and also what it is. Junius found a corrupt ministry, a corrupt commons, and à corrupt bench. He set upon them like a wild beast. He demolished many abuses, and cleared the ground for more legitimate reforms. Like a desperate oculist, he cut deep into the thick crust which had overgrown the public eye, to let in light. He was the cause of the downfall of many tyrannies, and for this deserves applause; but, now that the tyrannies are fallen, he comes before us an example of much wrong, and for this deserves our censure. He championed the freedom of the press; but if his example were much followed, that freedom would become a curse. No man's character was safe from him; true or false, all accusations found a like currency through him. He revelled in being a terror to men, and with an assassin's exultation gloried in the engine which, while it dealt destruction, shielded him from punishment. He had his fame ever about him, though himself invisible. He sought only to touch men as mortals—he cared nothing for them as immortals. So with Chesterfield. Himself a gentleman, among an unpolished, and in some respects a rude age, he attempted to raise and reform manners. He loved the assembling of men together—he was only happy in society. He would have been ennuyé among sublime solitudes; his concern was to live decently, respecting, first and foremost, his neighbour's opinion of him, not his Maker's. He tried to smoothe the passage through this difficult world, but paid no heed to smoothing that more difficult passage from it to another; he also lives, in his writings, for the mortal part of us, and not for the immortal. But the gentle Cowper has done, is doing, other work than this. He knew that the planets, and the earth, and the sun, were but baubles apart from the Author of them all; and his life and all his writings tell us so. Junius and Chesterfield are guides, in some sense, to the restless and unfaithful citizenship of the world; but he is our companion and encourager to aim at the more worthy citizenship of another and a better place to dwell in.
Art. IV. Northern Antiquities; or, an Historical Account of the
Manners, Customs, Religion, and Laws, Maritime Expeditions and Discoveries, Language and Literature of the Ancient Scandinavians; with Incidental Notes respecting our Saxon Ancestors. Translated from the French of M. MALLET, by BISHOP PERCY. New Edition, with a Translation of the Prose Edda, edited by J. A. BLACK
WELL, Esq. London: H. S. Bohn. M. MALLET is an accredited scholar, who in his lifetime devoted much attention to the study of northern antiquities. Bishop Percy, who in 1770 translated Mallet into English, is also well known to the learned world for his critical acumen; and his preface to the Antiquities' very clearly testifies in his favour. Moreover, the present edition of the book, as it now stands with Mallet's text and Percy's strictures, is worthy of attention from the boldness of the remarks inserted by the editor, and the light which he attempts to throw on the origin of the various races of mankind, through the new-born sciences of anthropology and glossology.
This subject, however, of the origin of races, which involves the question of the unity of mankind, is still so far bent with difficulty, and the sciences alluded to are at present so far imperfect, that it behoves us to receive with caution the deductions attempted to be drawn from them. We are, nevertheless, indebted to them in various ways; for much has been done by their means to correct and systematize our old knowledge of the subjects of which they treat, and many new and important facts have thus been collected, as a foundation for further inquiry. It is not our intention to give anything like an exposition of these sciences; we shall content ourselves with a simple definition of their functions, and refer those who are curious in this kind of scholarship to the editor's remarks on Bishop Percy's preface, with other and more trustworthy sources of information. "Anthropology, then,
* Shows the organic distinction that constitutes the varieties of the human species; inquires how these varieties have originated; whether they be reducible to one common type, or to several distinct types; strives to trace the affinities that connect them, and form a systematic classification of the various races that have hitherto appeared on the face of the globe. · Glossology, on the other hand, investigates the construction and affinities of the various languages spoken by mankind, from the earliest that have left any vestiges of their existence down to those of the present day; assumes that a certain number may be regarded as primitive, from which all the others are derived; points