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1927.)
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 that, by a course of reading equivocal a nature as to be unintelli- and reflection, has become so far inigible to minds unsophisticated by the tiated as to know from its own exerdreams of absolute enthusiasm. These cises, the nature, character, and comand a thousand others, all differing it plexion, and can consequently appremay 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 enjoyınents 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 flight beyond the ephemeral pursuits attended the hours of persons who in which they are actually engaged. have attained high eminence in lite- Surrounded, for instance, with the rature, and who are famed for their circumstances, or with the objects intervals of abstraction. “ The Min 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 Civií 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- 10 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 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 tradesman 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, indeed, is one which ever warmed with the benevolent dis

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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 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 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, 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 infrom 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 inrolres shaded the scenery of the more dis- no original reach of thought! One tant country, affording, 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 thie 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 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 fluttered 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 Soliloquies naturally intrude upon at the fine-drawn speculations, at the the solitude of an individual, and, feigned and visionary gratifications

1927.)
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 that, by a course of reading equivocal a nature as to be unintelli- and reflection, has become so far inigible to minds upsophisticated by the tiated as to know from its own exerdreams of absolute enthusiasm. These cises, the nature, character, and comand a thousand others, all differing it plexion, and can consequently appremay 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 fight beyond the ephemeral pursuits attended the hours of persons who in which they are actually engaged. have attained high eminence 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 bis 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 sym-, their 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

510
Speculations on Literary Pleasures.

[June,
positions of our common nature, has one who is incapable of any such
evidently no coinprehension of a feel- mental process.
ing which, stimulated from without, But in mentioning D'Israeli, the
can people the mind with a thousand author alluded to (and no one who
vivid creations.

is acquainted with his writings will The lark, if such similitudes are al mention him without respect), a few lowed us, which, sporting in the beams observations may be premised concernof the morning sun, rises from the ing his book “On the Literary Chaneighbouring enamelled field, and racter." D'Israeli is,-as every man the dull ox, unconscious of care, should be in the peculiar line or walk incapable of thought, grazes beneath, of literature in which he chiefly alfurnish, perhaps, no inappropriate em: taches himself,—an enthusiast. He blems of the two classes of beings here throws bis eyes over the widened spoken of. The feathered chorister track of history, which teems with warbles the note of gladness, as from the memorials of the sons of genius. increasing heights it surveys an ample He views their private experience, domain of pastures, hills, vales, and analyzes their hours of meditation, and woods; "joy tunes his voice, joy ele. notes the confessions and acknowledg. vates his wings ;" his little frame is ments by which they unite their sufdoubtless thrilled with a full sensa- frage in favour of the high and predotion of delight, as he carols amid the minating enjoyments attendant upon the widened prospect. He, perhaps, literary avocations. may personify, (as far as such a pa- But it will strike every attentive rallel shall be allowed to extend,) the reader of the iuteresting pages of this thoughtless and the gay, whose plea- writer, that he often pursues his hysure is perfect freedom from care, and pothesis to an excess. In the intenwhose recklessness of things beyond sity of emotion, in the vivid nature the present moment becomes a 'cha- of those bright images which crowd racteristic feature. The latter may upon the mind, habitually disposed to possibly furnish an emblem of those reverie, all, who know any thing of sons of care, who, although opportu. the subject under consideration, will nities of mental expansion constantly confess that he interests the heart, present themselves above, beneath, and because he speaks the language of naon every side, know not how to ap- ture. preciate the beauty and variety which But the Author of “ Curiosities of embellish, or the fitness, expediency, Literature,” catching the ardour of his and final ends of all or any part of this theme from some spirit whose genius “visible diurnal sphere," these are of inspiration soared beyond that of questions involving pleasures utterly his compeers, has often made his debeyond the range of their comprehen- lineations assume a character of hy; sion, yet both the one and the other perbole and extravagance, calculated pass their days in mere trifles, or the sometimes to defeat his end. sordid calculations of interest. But When an historian of Genius, in its parallels from brute life may not strike variety of complexion and philosophi. all readers as amongst the most feli- cal character, as it has developed it. citous.

self in the literary, and guided the We will

, therefore, still supposing speculations of mankind, throws too the author to be fixed in the persua. high a colouring over his narrative, sive attitude of recluse, in the embo- we cannot resist the impression that somed retreat which had originated he writes for effect, and heighteus his subject, glance at some details con- the lineaments of simple nature, in nected in the History of Letters, with order to swell the graphic interest of the testimony of private experience. his pictures. Here the industry of a contempo

While we hail, therefore, with kinrary author has accumulated a mass dred recognition, the interesting deof evidence, all bearing upon the point tails accuniulated by his industry, ito which was just now advocated, -that self directed by the stimulations of the man whose organization of mind genius, the mind sometimes feels a habitually. inclines him to high spe- sort of distrust in implicitly crediting culative 'inquiries, connected with the extent of those rhapsodies, under things around him, enjoys, in the the operation of which he has s"re'ggregate, more vivid felícities than times depicted those who constigte

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1827.]
D' Israeli on the Literary Character.

511 his heroes. Yet we, for the most part, in the annals of fame. We can apprerepose with fond reciprocity of senti- ciate them, because the organization of ment upon the native characteristics our own internal visions of fancy sugof Genius he has introduced to our gest their reality. But the tuinultuary notice, in the variety of examples with feeling of agitated excitement, which which he has crowded his canvass, D'Israeli afterwards delineates, de and are beholden to him for the addio scribes a state of the systein not so tional insight he has afforded us into exactly within the reach of either our the habits and the propensities which experience or our comprehension. characterize the higher order of think- “When Malebranche," rejoins our ing humanity. He speaks, often, the eloquent memorialist," first took up language to which the sympathies Des Cartes' Treatise on Man, the germ which reign and “move within us,” of his own subsequent philosophical respond.

system, such was his intense feeling, • Every life of a man of genius," ob- that a violent palpitation of the heart serves D’Israeli, “composed by him- more than once obliged him to lay self, presents us with an experimental down the volume. When the first philosophy of the mind." To ex- idea of the Essay on the Arts and amples of the meditations of Genius Sciences rushed on the mind of Roussuch as the following we indeed sub- seau, a feverish symptom in his nerscribe, because imagination whispers vous system approached to a slight dein each humbler votary of literary lei. lirium. When we are farther told of sure, that a similar glow and expan- Tasso, in the paroxysms which will sion has occasionally peopled his own occasionally entrance the votary of gemind with airy visions. - In the still- nius, holding imaginary. ness of meditation the mind of ge- tions with a spirit which glided tonius must be frequently thrown, it is wards him on the beams of the sun;" a kind of darkness which hides from of“ Malebranche, listening to the voice all surrounding objects, even in the of God within him," (alluding to his Jight of day.

hypothesis); of Lord Herbert, on his In Cicero on "Old Age," we find knees in the stillness of the sky," (havCato admiring Caius Sulpitius Gallus, ing reference to the mysterious sounds who, when he sat down to write from the clear empyrean, which enin the noroing, was surprised by joined him to publish his book “De the evening, and when he took up his Veritale”); of “ Pascal, starting at pen in the evening was surprised, by times at an abyss opening by his ihe morning. Socrates has remained side;" of Des Cartes, hearing a 'voice a whole day in immoveable medita- in the air exhorting him to the purtion, his eyes and countenance directed suit of truth ;” of “Collins and Cow. to one spot, as if in the stillness of per, whose illusions were as strong death. Archimedes, involved in the as those of Swedenborg ;" we investigation of mathematical truth, strongly tempted to view these excesProtogenes and Parmigiano found sive affections as the freaks of fancy; their senses locked up as it were in not so much, perhaps, as the legitimeditation, so as to be incapable of mate excrescences of genius, as the withdrawing themselves from their severish Aights of a disordered imagiwork, even in the midst of a city nation, and not altogether dissimilar stormed by the enemy. Marino was 10 those of the mad enthusiast lastso absorbed in the composition of his mentioned. “Were it possible," obo “ Adonis,” that he suffered his leg to serves D’Israeli, “lo collect some be burnt for some time before the thoughts of great thinkers which were pain grew stronger than the intellec

never written, we should discover vitual pleasure of his imagination. Buf- vid conceptions, and an originality fon has declared that he has often they never dared to pursue in their spent twelve or fourteen hours succes- works.” How constanily has the truth sively, at his writing-desk, and still of this been verified in the history and been in a state of pleasure.”

experience of men of letters!' Not These pleasurable impulses, these only in our hours of study, and in reveries of mutual enjoyment, have, those sensibilities of soul which stidoubtless, been felt by numerous spi- mulate with unremitting devotedness rits whose “capacious powers” have to the pleasing toil of fresh discovenever met with a faithful chronicler ries, but in our intervals of luxuriant

are

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