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who wrote this, who is quite ignorant of Latin, and to whom I was, with no liudo vexation, obliged lo diclale not the words, bub, one by one, the letters Q which they were composed."
Then of music
“The interim may, buth with profit and delight, be taken up in rocreating and composing their travailed spirits with the solemn and divine harınonics of music beard or learned; either whilst the skillful organist plics his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugucs, or the whole symphony with anful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well-sludied chords of some choice compuser; somctimes the lute or sof organ-stop waiting on elegant voices, either w religious, martial, or civil diltics; which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over disposition and manners to smoothe and make them gentle from ruslic harshness and distempered passions."
The account of the gradual increase of his blindness is interesting, physiologically as well as otherwise :
He does not mention here the higher offices of music, but that they had been fulfilled to him is evident in the whole texture of his niid and his page. The organ was his instrument, and there is not a strain of its peculiar music that may not somewhere be traced in his verse or prose. Here, too, he was prophetical of our age, of which Music is the great and growing art, making deeper revelations than any other mode of expression now adopted by the soul.
After these scanty remarks upon the glories of this sun-like inind, let us look for a moment on the clouds which hung about its earthly course. Let us take some hints from his letters :
"It is often a subject of sorrowful reflection to ine, that those with whom I have been either fortuitously or legally associated by contiguity of place or somo till of liule moment, are continually at hand to infest my homo, to stun me with their noise and wasto me with vexation, while those who are endeared to me by the closest sympathy of manners, of tastes and pursuits, are almost all withheld from my embrace either by death or an insuperable distance of place; and have for the most part been so iapidly hurried from my sight, that my prospects seem continually solitary, and my heart perpetually desolate."
The last letter in the volume ends thus : "What you term policy, and which I wish that you had rather called patriotic piety, bag, if I may so say, almost left me, who was charmed with so sweet a sound, without a country. • • I will conclude after first begging you, is there to woy errors in the diction or the punctuation, to imputo it to tho boy
"It is now, I think, about ten years (1654) since I perceived my vision to grow weak and dull; and, at the same time, I was trouble with pain in my kilneys and bowels, accompanied with flatulency. In the morning, if I began to read, as was my custom, my eyes instantly ached intensely, but were refresh. ed after a little corporeal exercise. Tho candle which I looked at seemed ns if it were encircled by a rainbow. Not long after thc sight in the left part of the len eyo (which I lost some years before the other) became quito oluscured, and prevented me from discerning any object on that side. The sight in any other eye has now been gradually and sensibly vanishing away for about thrco ycars; some months before had entirely perished, though I stood motionless, every thing which I looked at sccmed in motion to and fro. A stist cloudy vapor seemed to have scttled on my forehead and temples, which usually occasions a sort of somnolent pressure upon my cyes, and particularly from dinner till evening. So that I often recolloct what is said of the poct Phincas in the Argorautico:
• A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound,
Or in a seeblo trance he specchless lay.' I ought not to omit that, while I had any sight left, as soon as I lay down on my bed, and turned on either side, a flool of light used to gush from my closca eyelids. Then, as my sight becamo daily more impaire, the colors became more faint, and were enitted with a certain crackling sound; but, at present, every specics of illumination being, as it were, extinguished, there is diffuseu around me nothing but darkness, or darkness mingled and strcaked with an ashy brown. Yet the darknees in which I am perpetually immersed seeins always, both by night and day, to approach nearer to a white than black; and when the eye is rolling in its socket, it admits a little particle of light as through a chink. And though your physician may kindle a small ray of hope, yet I make up my mind to the malady as quite incurable; and I often relcct, that an tho wise man admonishes, days of darkness are destined to each of us. The darkness which I experience, less oppressive than that of the lomb, is, owing to the singular goodness of the Deity, pussed amid the pursuits of literature and
THE LIFE OF SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.
BY HIS BON; ROBERT JAMES MACKINTOSH.
techeering ululations of friendship. But if, as it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that procceleth from tho mouth of God why may not any one acquiesce in the privation of his sight, when God has sc soply furnished his mind and his conscience with eyes? Whilo Ho so tendoris provides for me, while Ho so graciously leads me by the hand and conducto inre on the way, I will, since it is His pleasure, rather rejoico than repine at boing blind.
And my dear Philura, whatever may bo the event, I wish you adieu with no le courago and composure than if I had the eyes of a lynx."
Though the organist was wrapped in utter darkness, only mingled and streaked with an ashy brown,' still the organ pealed forth its perpetual, sublime To Deum! Shall we, sitting in the open su a-light, dare tune our humble pipes to any other strain ? Thou may'st thank Him, Milton, for, but for this misfortune, thou badst been a bencfactor to the great and strong only, but now to the inultitude and suffering also thy voice comes, bidding them "hate no jot of heart or hope,' with archangelio power and melody.
"Biography is by nature the most universally profitable, universally pleasant of all things; especially biography of distinguished individuals.” (Opinion of tho sayacious Hofrath Hensbrucke, as quowd in Sartor Resartus.)
If the biography of a distinguished individual bc thus especially pleasant a matter, how most of all pleasant is it when a child is found worthy to erect the monument with which the world cs. teems his father worthy to be honoured! We see that it is no part of the plan of the universe to make nature or talent heredi. tary. The education of circumstances supersedes that of systcm, unlooked for influences disturb the natural action of the pa. rent's character on that of the child; and all who have made cven a few observations of this sort, must feel that, here as else. where, planting and watering had best be done for duty or love's sake, without any sanguine hopes as to the increase. From inistaken notions of freedom, or an ill-directed fondness for experi. mentalizing, the son is often seen to disregard the precepts or ex. ainple of his father; and it is a matter of surprise if the scion is found to bear fruit of a similar, not to say equal flavor, with the parent tree.
How opposed all this is to our natural wishes and expectations, li. e., 10 our ideal of a state of perfection,) is evident froin the: pleasure we feel when family relations preserve their harmony, and the father becomes to the son a master and a modela reve. rend teacher and a favourite study. Such a happy state of things makes the biography before us very attractive. It is in
" One pase
itself good, though, probably not as interesting or impressive as one who could have painted the subject from somewhat a greater distance might have made it. The affections of the writer are nowhere obtruded upon us. The feeling shown towards his amiable and accomplished father is every where reverential and tender, nowhere blind or exaggerated. Sir James is always, when possible, permitted to speak for himself; and we are not teased by attempts to heighten or alter the natural effect of his thoughts and opinions. The impressions he produced on different minds are given us unmutilated and unqualificd. The youthful errors, and the one great defect which had power to prevent so rich a piece of creation from blooming into all that love or admiration could have wished, are neither dissembled nor excused. Perhaps here Mr. Mackintosh kept in mind his father's admirable remark upon Mrs. Opie's Memoir of her husband. sage I object to; where she makes an excuse for not exposing his faults. She ought either to have been absolutely silent, or, with an intrepid confidence in the character of her husband, to have stated faults, which she was sure would not have been dust in the balance, placed in the scale opposite to his merits."
Indeed, the defect here was not to be hidden, since it sapped the noblest undertakings and baffled the highest aspirations of the gentle and generous critic ; but we might have been annoyed by awkward attempts to gloss it over, which would have prevented our enjoying in full confidence the record of so many virtues and remarkable attainments. To these discerning and calm justice is done ; more, as the son and friend felt, was not noeded. And, upon the whole, if filial delicacy hus prevented the Life of Sir J. M. from making so brilliant and entertaining a book as it might be in the hands of one who felt at liberty to analyze more deeply and eulogize more eloquently, our knowledge of it as hislory is probably more correct, and of greater permanent value.
The recollections of childhond are scanty. We see, indeed
an extraordinary boy, but get little light as to what helped to make him what he was. Generally we know, that if there be anything of talent in a boy, a Scotch mist has wonderful power to draw it out. Add to this, that he lived much in solitude, and on the banks of a beautiful lake. To such means of intellectual developement many a Swiss and many a Highlander has done no visible, or at least so far as this world knoweth, no iinmortal hon. our; but there be hardy striplings, who expand their energies in chasing the deer and the chamois, and act out the impulse, poetic or otherwise, as it rises; while the little Jamie was fed on books, and taught how thought and feeling may be hoarded and put out at interest while he had plenty of time and means for hoarding. Yet is the precocity natural to a boy of genius wher his atten. tion is so little dissipated, and the sphere of exercising his childish energies so limited, very undesirable. For precocity some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life. Nature intended the years of childhood to be spent in perceiving and playing, not in reflecting and acting; and when her processes are hurried or disturbed, she is sure to exact a penalty. Bacon paid by moral perversion for his premature intellectual developement. Mozart gave half a life for a first half all science and soul. Muckintosh brought out so wonderfully his powers of acquisition at the ex. pense of those of creation, to say nothing of the usual fine of delicate health. How much he lived oul of books we know not, but he tells us of little else. The details of his best plaything -the boy.club at which he exercised himself, as the every.day boy rides the great horse, or the young Indian tries his father's bow, are interesting. At an early age he went to Aberdeen, where he came under the instruction of a Dr. Dunbar, who, if he did not impart much positive knowledgo, seems to have been successful in breathing into his pupil that strong desire of know ing and doing, which is of more value than any thing one can receive from another. Here too, was he happy in that friendship