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508
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

[Jane, page, I formed the following reverie,' under such circumstances, few, it is too wild for allegory, and too regular probable, could withstand the spoofor a dream." The present writer will taneous flow of impressions and images also fancy himself isolated in a situ- thus excited. ation where he recently enjoyed a

While all Nature around, animated train of reflections something similar by the resplendent beams of a momto those which form the subject of ing sun, sports each in his own inthe following sheets.

stinctive sphere of recreation, we naThe sun had attained the highest turally diverge into speculations converge of Cancer, and was already on nected with the character and comits decline towards another equinox, plexion of our intellectual susceptiwhen the “breezy call” of a morn- bilities. I here imagined the person ing scattering incense from a thou- who had long been in the habit of sand springs, ordained to lure mortals close mental application, whose iafrom repose, guided my footsteps to a tellectual energies have been practisequestered dell of trees, where I was cally trained to investigation and sometimes wont to repair in order to thought, whose susceptibilities are enjoy in silence those moments which keen, to whom the world opens an the husy commerce of the world are extensive, rich, and illimitable' field of not always calculated to afford. The inquiry. What a universe of obserdomain which here arrested my course vation and of thought does he not enwas diversified in all the wildness and joy, utterly' unknown to him whose irregularity of nature. A river skirted sole attention is engrossed in a dull its utmost boundary, whilst the um- round of customary duties, almost mebrageous trees, which overhung its chanical in their influence, where the clear and murmuring stream, partially grasp of mental perceplion inrohres shaded the scenery of the more dis- no original reach of thought! One tant country, afforcing, however, at of those individuals, whose tenor of intervals a peep at rich pastures and mind, unless perturbed by the coawoodlands beyond, undulating in pic- tingencies of irade, swim down the turesque forms of acclivity and vales. stream of life with tranquillity, has in A range of lofty hills crowned with deed his enjoyments,--he feels pleztheir summits the back-ground of the sures and gratifications which he terms extended prospect. The grailed seat substantial in the customary routine of a grotto, formed by the joint hand of calculated profits; but he knows of nature and art, invited me to a do- not what obstruction ineans; he verer micile amidst objects of more than experienced the ardour and the pain ordinary beauty.

of intense thinking, -is awakened to For some moments I inhaled the no enthusiastic perception of feeling. balmy freshness of the morning air, The chain of thought was opened, mingled with the fragrance of odori- and spontaneously wandered through ferous shrubs. The early sun beamed a succession of speculative questions splendour from the east, the feathered connected with the subject. The citribes, roused from their cells by the tizen, for example,-thus flowed the call of morning, filled the ambient air course of my speculations,—at his desk with a song of praise; and whilst some calculating his gains, or pursuing a winged their path towards the blue dull round of customary duties, seldom ether, others Auttered with an unceas- bestows his meditations upon a train ing chorus of praise among the spread of thought or of sentimeni which he ing foliage, painted in matchless vari: deems purely visionary. ety by the pencil of an all-powerful The man of leisure who devotes and unseen artist. The dew-drops, the hours of his life to the mere amusetrembling upon the slender leaf, spark- ments of a country life, who, amidst led like crystals with a thousand trans. objects whose intrinsic beauty can ever lucent rays, vegetation again raised animate and charm, knows no pleaher drooping head, and displayed, in sures but the sound of the "echoing rich exuberance, her treasures ; every horn," and the intense anxiety with circumstance combined at once to in- which the sportsman, heedless of all spire pleasure, and to excite busy besides, pursues the keen recreations thought.

which urge him in his career, laughs Soliloquies naturally intrude upon at the fine-drawn speculations, at the the solitude of an individual, and, feigned and visionary gratifications

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1827.]
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

509
which await the man of cultivated, cannot, from its very nature, admit of
mental refinement-knows nothing, absolute demonstration; any thing in
it is true, of the pleasures here ima- the shape of mathematical proof is
gined. The enjoyments produced by here entirely out of the question ;
mental abstraction and association, these are matters in which it is agreed
are, to him “ like a tale told by an on all hands that much is to be felt
idiot,” which, if it “ signifies' any and understood.
thing but folly, is of so recondite and A mind thai, by a course of reading
equivocal a nature as to be unintelli- and reflection, has become so far ini-
gible to minds unsophisticated by the tiated as to know from its own exer-
dreams of absolute enthusiasm. These cises, the nature, character, and com-
and a thousand others, all differing it plexion, and can consequently appre-
may chance from each other in certain ciate these pleasures, will easily credit
shades of temperament, pass through them to exist amongst certain others in
life, who never framed to themselves a degree far beyond their own private
the possibility of the enjoyments here experience. While he judges from
spoken of.

analogies of the intenseness with which Multitudes who have enjoyed the they may exist, he is sensible that it benefit of education, who have sus- is altogether vain to endeavour to imtained a character of high respectabi- plant an idea of their reality in the lity in the several ways in which they breast of a person whose imagination have shone, would yer, it is more than is barren, whose energies are torpid probable, confess, were the question and cold, and whose exclusions of asked, that “ the noiseless tenor of thought seldom, unless in the calcu. their way," was accompanied with lations of private interest, take their gratifications as high as those which flight beyond the ephemeral pursuits attended the hours of persons who in which they are actually engaged. have altained high eininence in lite- Surrounded, for instance, with the rature, and who are famed for their circumstances, or with the objects intervals of abstraction. “ The Mi- which originated the train of thought ser himself,” says Professor Ferguson, in which I had engaged, -when all in his Essay on the History of Civil Nature concurred to exhilarate the Society, “can consider his wealth as soul with lively gratitude, and raise it the source of happiness, and has chal- to inspiration, when earth and air lenged his heir to have more pleasure teems with fragrance and animation, in spending than he in ainassing, his and when gladness smiles upon the fortune.'

face of the country, variegated in the “Why," says the Doctor, whose most beautiful forms, one of the class speculations On Happiness" indi- last pointed at would merely observe cate a deep insight into human nature, that it was a fine morning, whilst one “ may not the man whose object is of the former would probably feel the money, be understood to live a life of kindred energies of his soul expand pleasure, not only more entire than under a sense of beauty, and his ihat of the spendthrift, but even as thoughts drawn forth in reverie. The much as the virtuoso, the scholar, or latter would indeed discern a sort of the man of taste.”

beauty, so far as the colours, forms, What is there, indeed, it will be and fragrance of the objects he views asked by the calculating individual, strikes upon his senses, but he reto invalidate the hypothesis that a per- mains wholly dead to any perception son, whose senses are utterly deaf to beyond: no ideas of harmony, conthe calls of literary speculations, may gruity, and happiness, which rush tread the journey of life, may, de- through the imagination and awaken scend into the vale of years, and ex- the energies of the former, would ever perience in as high a degree the emo- strike him. His ideas run, habitually, iions of pleasure and of happiness as in another channel; no conception of the first? The sportsman and the any affinity between the sublime and cradesman feel the keen delights of the beautiful in nature, and the symtheir several pursuits, as the Poet in his pathies or the meditations of genius, “ frenzied” reveries, or as the Philo- as it often characterizes the human sopher lost in a train of favourite ab- mind, enters for a moment into the straction.

calculations of a breast, which, how.. The question, iudeed, is one which ever warmed with the benevolent dis

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508
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

(June, page, I formed the following reverie,' under such circumstances, few, it is too wild for allegory, and too regular probable, could withstand the sponfor a dreamn.". The present writer will taneous flow of impressions and images also fancy himself isolated in a situ- thus excited. ation where he recently enjoyed a While all Nature around, animated train of reflections something similar by the resplendent beams of a mornto those which form the subject of ing sun, sports each in his own inthe following sheets.

stinctive sphere of recreation, we naThe sun had attained the highest turally diverge into speculations converge of Cancer, and was already on nected with the character and comits decline towards another equinox, when the “breezy call” of a morn

bilities. I here imagined the person ing scattering incense from a thou- who had long been in the habit of sand springs, ordained to lure mortals close mental application, whose iafrom repose, guided my footsteps to a tellectual energies have been pracu. sequestered dell of trees, where I was cally trained to investigation and sometimes wont to repair in order to thought, whose susceptibilities are enjoy in silence those moments which keen, to whom the world opens an the husy commerce of the world are extensive, rich, and illimitable field of not always calculated to afford. The inquiry. What a universe of obser. domain which here arrested my course vation and of thought does he not enwas diversified in all the wildness and joy, utterly' unknown to him whose irregularity of nature. A river skirted sole attention is engrossed in a dull its utmost boundary, whilst the um- round of customary duties, almost mebrageous trees, which overhung its chanical in their influence, where the clear and murmuring stream, partially grasp of mental perception inrolves shaded the scenery of the more dis- no original reach of thought! One tant country, afforcing, however, at of those individuals, whose tenor of intervals a peep at rich pastures and mind, unless perturbed by the conwoodlands beyond, undulating in pic- tingencies of irade, swim down the turesque forms of acclivity and vales. stream of life with tranquillity, has id. A range of lofty hills crowned with deed his enjoyments,-he feels plez. their summits the back-ground of the sures and gratifications which he terms extended prospect. The grailed seat substantial in the customary routine of a grotto, formed by the joint hand of calculated profits; but he knows of nature and art, invited me to a do- not what obstruction ineans; he uerer micile amidst objects of more than experienced the ardour and the pain ordinary beauty.

of intense thinking, -is awakened to For some moments I inhaled the no enthusiastic perception of feeling. balmy freshness of the morning air, The chain of thought was opened, mingled with the fragrance of odori. and spontaneously wandered through ferous shrubs. The early sun beamed a succession of speculative questions splendour from the east, the feathered connected with the subject. The citribes, roused from their cells by the tizen, for example,-thus flowed the call of morning, filled the ambient air course of my speculations,—at his desk with a song of praise; and whilst some calculating his gains, or pursuing a winged their path towards the blue dull round of customary duties, seldom ether, others füttered with an unceas- bestows his meditations upon a train ing chorus of praise among the spread- of thought or of sentiment which he ing foliage, painted in matchless vari- deems purely visionary. ety by the pencil of an all-powerful The man of leisure who devotes and unseen artist. The dew-drops, the hours of his life to the inere amusetrembling upon the slender leaf, spark- ments of a country life, who, amidst led like crystals with a thousand trans, objects whose intrinsic beauty can ever lucent rays, vegetation again raised animate and charm, knows no pleaher drooping head, and displayed, in sures but the sound of the "echoing rich exuberance, her treasures ; every horn," and the intense anxiety with circumstance combined at once to in- which the sportsman, heedless of all spire pleasure, and to excite busy besides, pursues the keen recreations thought.

which urge him in his career, laughs Soliloquies naturally intrude upon at the fine-drawn speculations, at the the solitude of an individual, and, feigned and visionary gratifications

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

1827.]
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

509
which await the man of cultivated, cannot, from its very nature, admit of
mental refinement-knows nothing, absolute demonstration; any thing in,
it is true, of the pleasures here ima- the shape of mathematical proof is
gined. The enjoyments produced by here entirely out of the question;
mental abstraction and association, these are matters in which it is agreed
are, to him “like a tale told by an on all hands that much is to be felt
idiot," which, if it “s signifies" any and understood.
thing but folly, is of so recondite and A mind that, by a course of reading
equivocal a nature as to be unintelli- and reflection, has become so far ini
gible to minds unsophisticated by the tiated as to know from its own exer-
dreams of absolute enthusiasm. These cises, the nature, character, and com-
and a thousand others, all differing it plexion, and can consequently appre-
may chance from each other in certain ciate these pleasures, will easily credit
shades of temperament, pass through them to exist amongst certain others in
life, who never framed to themselves a degree far beyond their own private
the possibility of the enjoyments here experience. While he judges from
spoken of.

analogies of the intenseness with which Multitudes who have enjoyed the they may exist, he is sensible that it benefit of education, who have sus- is altogether vain to endeavour to imtained a character of high respectabi- plant an idea of their reality in the lity in the several ways in which they breast of a person whose imagination have shone, would yet, it is more than is barren, whose energies are torpid probable, confess, were the question and cold, and whose exclusions of asked, that “ the noiseless tenor of thought seldom, unless in the calcu. their way," was accompanied with lations of private interest, take their gratifications as high as those which Aight beyond the ephemeral pursuits attended the hours of persons who in which they are actually engaged. have altained high eininence in lite- Surrounded, for instance, with the rature, and who are famed for their circumstances, or with the objects intervals of abstraction. “ The Mi- which originated the train of thought ser himself,” says Professor Ferguson, in which I had engaged,—when all in his Essay on the History of Civil Nature concurred to exhilarate the Society, “can consider his wealth as soul with lively gratitude, and raise it the source of happiness, and has chal- to inspiration, — when earth and air lenged his heir to have more pleasure teems with fragrance and animation, in spending than he in amassing, his and when gladness smiles upon the fortune."

face of the country, variegated in the “ Why,” says the Doctor, whose most beautiful forms, one of the class speculations on Happiness” indi- last pointed at would merely observe cate a deep insight into human nature, that it was a fine morning, whilst one “ may not the man whose object is of the former would probably feel the money, be understood to live a life of kindred energies of his soul expand pleasure, not only more entire than under a sense of beauty, and his that of the spendthrift, but even as thoughts drawn forth in reverie. The much as the virtuoso, the scholar, or latter would indeed discern a sort of the man of taste."

beauty, so far as the colours, forms, What is there, indeed, it will be and fragrance of the objects he views asked by the calculating individual, strikes upon his senses, but he reto invalidate the hypothesis that a per- mains wholly dead to any perception son, whose senses are utterly deaf to beyond: no ideas of harmony, conthe calls of literary speculations, may gruiry, and happiness, which rush tread the journey of life, may, de- through the imagination and awaken scend into the vale of years, and ex- the energies of the former, would ever perience in as high a degree the emo- strike him. His ideas run, habitually, tions of pleasure and of happiness as in another channel; no conception of the first? The sportsman and the any affinity between the sublime and tradesman feel the keen delights of the beautiful in nature, and the symtheir several pursuils, as the Poet in his pathies or the meditations of genius, “ frenzied” reveries, or as the Philo- as it often characterizes the human sopher lost in a train of favourite ab- mind, enters for a moment into the straction.

calculations of a breast, which, how. The question, indeed, is one which ever warmed with the benevolent dis

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508
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

(June,
page, I formed the following reverie,' under such circumstances, few, it is
too wild for allegory, and too regular probable, could withstand the spon-
for a dream.". The present writer will taneous flow of impressions and images
also fancy himself isolated in a situ- thus excited.
ation where he recently enjoyed a While all Nature around, animated
train of reflections something similar by the resplendent beams of a morn-
to those which form the subject of ing sun, sports each in his own in-
the following sheets.

stinctive sphere of recreation, we naThe sun had attained the highest turally diverge into speculations converge of Cancer, and was already on nected with the character and comits decline towards another equinox, plexion of our intellectual susceptiwhen the “breezy call” of a morn

bilities. I here imagined the person ing scattering incense from a thou- who had long been in the habit of sand springs, ordained to lure mortals close mental application, whose iafrom repose, guided my footsteps to a tellectual energies have been practisequestered dell of trees, where I was cally trained to investigation and sometimes wont to repair in order 10 thought, whose susceptibilities are enjoy in silence those moments which keen, to whom the world opens an the husy commerce of the world are extensive, rich, and illimitable field of not always calculated to afford. The inquiry. What a universe of obserdomain which here arrested my course vation and of thought does he not enwas diversified in all the wildness and joy, utterly unknown to him whose irregularity of nature. A river skirted sole attention is engrossed in a dull its utmost boundary, whilst the um- round of customary duties, almost mebrageous trees, which overhung its chanical in their influence, where the clear and murmuring stream, partially grasp of mental perception inrolves shaded the scenery of the more dis- no original reach of thought! One tant country, afforcing, however, at of those individuals, whose renor of intervals a peep at rich pastures and mind, unless perturbed by the conwoodlands beyond, undulating in pic- tingencies of irade, swim down the turesque forms of acclivity and vales. stream of life with tranquillity, has inA range of lofty hills crowned with deed his enjoyments, he feels pleatheir summits the back-ground of the sures and gratifications which he terms extended prospect. The grailed seat substantial in the customary routine of a grotto, formed by the joint hand of calculated profits; but he knows of nature and art, invited me to a do- ' not what obstruction ineans; he never micile amidst objects of more than experienced the ardour and the pain ordinary beauty.

of intense thinking,-is awakened to For some moments I inhaled the no enthusiastic perception of feeling. balmy freshness of the morning air, The chain of thought was opened, mingled with the fragrance of odori- and spontaneously wandered through ferous shrubs. The early sun beamed a succession of speculative questions splendour from the east, the feathered connected with the subject. The citribes, roused from their cells by the tizen, for example,-thus flowed the call of morning, filled the ambient air course of my speculations,—at his desk with a song of praise ; and whilst some calculating his gains, or pursuing a winged their path towards the blue dull round of customary duties, seldom ether, others Auttered with an unceas- bestows his meditations upon a train ing chorus of praise among the spread- of thought or of sentimeni which he ing foliage, painted in matchless vari: deems purely visionary. ety by the pencil of an all-powerful The man of leisure who devotes and unseen artist. The dew-drops, the hours of his life to the inere amusetrembling upon the slender leaf, spark- ments of a country life, who, amidst led like crystals with a thousand trans. objects whose intrinsic beauty can ever lucent rays, vegetation again raised animate and charm, knows no pleaher drooping head, and displayed, in sures but the sound of the "echoing rich exuberance, her treasures ; every horn," and the intense anxiety with circumstance combined at once to in- which the sportsman, heedless of all spire pleasure, and to excite busy besides, pursues the keen recreations thought.

which urge him in his career, laughs ng naturally intrude upon at the fine-drawn speculations, at the

of an individual, and, feigned and visionary gratifications

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