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It is true that in the living body there are influences at work which do not exist in non-living matter. has been supposed that physical force may be overruled by the vital principle, but whether this is so or not, it is not antagonistic to the principle of that conservation of energy which evidently does take place in the construction of the human body, and which conservation is a part of the process always more or less in operation in the body in connection with the assimilation of food.
The force evolved by muscular action is derived from the material which has been taken in as food. This is mainly obtained from the vegetable kingdom in the first instance, and is produced by the conserved force of the sun's rays. The oxidation of those materials allows the 'conserved force' to manifest its presence by 'potential or actual energy,' according as this oxidation goes on, slowly or rapidly, whether by simple means or by the compound actions which are operating in a thousand different ways. So we have actual and immediate results produced, or supplies are rendered latent,' ready at hand as occasion may arise for the production of the various attributes and functions which are proper to the animal frame.
However, in 1815 the trumpet again summoned all Germany to arms. The united friends once more tendered their services; but as the applications were so numerous, all public officers and all members of the teaching profession were exempted. That still, small voice' within him became louder and more imperative, and so, in consequence of a letter he received, Fröbel resigned his office, and left Berlin on the first of October, 1816. Why and whither nobody knew; he only left word with his friends that they should hear from him as soon as he could tell them of anything definite.
The battle of Leipzig had filled to overcrowding all the hospitals available. Fröbel's favourite brother Christoph, the minister of Griesheim, a small village near Ilmenau, had fallen a victim to typhus fever during his philanthropic labours among the unfortunate sufferers. The letter referred to was from his widow, who asked for advice and assistance in the education of her three sons. Such an appeal was irresistible, and at once matured his long-cherished plans.
Of course he first repaired to his brother Christian, the weaver in Osterode, to devise with him the plan of his new undertaking. Christian entertained a very high opinion of his brother; he had always taken great interest in his educational schemes; and had eagerly entered into all the details of his life with Pestalozzi. Fröbel's offer to devote himself entirely to the educaof his nephews, and to begin his long-prepared work with such a labour of piety, was gladly accepted, and to mark his own sense of confidence and esteem, Christian put two of his own children also under his brother's care.
Life implies constant, incessant change. Oxidation implies waste, and waste products must be removed. Thus we have to consider the nature of food with especial reference to its waste products. The ingestation have a value according as the egesta are great or small, just as an ore is valuable according to the percentage of good metal which it contains; so, conversely, food is valuable according to the greater or less amount of debris which results from its use. We must therefore consider the constituent elements which food contains, and choose those which can best satisfy the requirements of life.
The most essential elements are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen; then sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, silicon, and the alkalies, and alkaline earths, with minute traces of some of the metals, as iron, manganese, etc. These are the main constituents of Alimentary Substances.'
These elements have been brought into combination by the agency of living organism, and cannot be produced by simple chemical agency, but they all contain certain alimentary principles, which give the value to each, and upon which classification depends. (To be continued.)
BY HIS PUPIL, HEINRICH HOFFMAN.
That same loving hand which amidst the roar of cannon had united the three young men in close friendship, took good care that no vicissitudes of life should undo a work which was destined for a great future. Soon after the war they met again in Berlin, Middendorf and Langethal being both engaged as private tutors. Middendorf, who felt his whole being irresistibly drawn towards Fröbel, was for a time his fellow-lodger, and Langethal joined him in earnest studies of educational subjects under their respected guide and friend, whilst the hearts of the three were drawn closer and closer to each other.
November 13th, 1816, may be noted as the day when Fröbel entered upon his own independent labours at Griesheim. He now summoned to his assistance Middendorf, who at once relinquished his design of taking holy orders, and joined his beloved and respected friend, by whom he was as it were spell-bound. Fröbel was to him all in all.
The two men were very different in their natural dispositions. Fröbel was all choleric fire, quick in temper, passionate in whatever he took in hand; Middendorf was always calm, gentle, a man of womanly tenderness, all feeling, all sympathy with his fellow-men, a very Saint John in character. Fröbel had an eye pensive, reflecting, scrutinizing, and, as it were, looking inward; Middendorf's eye was bright, clear, beaming with kindness, faithfully portraying his childlike mind. Fröbel's impulsive nature often blinded him as to men and matters. Enthusiastic at once, he would entertain the most extravagant expectations in regard to men and things, such as could never be satisfied; and then, on seeing his error, would fall into the other extreme of despair when there was little need to do so. It was Middendorf's part to judge calmly and justly, and to smooth down with kind and tender hands any roughness, any unpleasantness which his friend might have caused.
Like Luther and Melancthon, these friends were the complementary opposites each of the other. They found their common bond in their love for children, for mankind, for God, and in their self-denying devotion to the divine idea which had such entire possession of them. Fröbel was the creative, the inventive genius; but the gift of clear, lucid utterance was denied him. Middendorf was his mouthpiece-an orator whose clear, warm-hearted, poetical diction nobody could resist. The melodious tones of his voice, the noble fire of his
eye, the true portraiture of his whole inner being, the inexpressible charm of thorough conviction, of honest truth, of a rapturous love for little children, and, moreover, all this hallowed by pious modesty, by almost maiden-like bashfulness and simplicity, gave to all who heard him a never-to-be-forgotten treasure of high enjoyment. Fröbel required longer time and deeper study to be fully appreciated and admired. At first sight, any observer would be conscious that he was in the presence of an extraordinary and peculiar cha
There was something about him that either filled people with awe and wonder, or caused them to laugh, and to think him eccentric and irritable. Indefatigable in his perorations, grand in his highflown language, with eyes closed, as if they were needed to read inwardly, he was apt to entangle himself in a mass of explanatory synonyms which required the strictest attention of his listeners to unravel. But all who persevered soon felt fascinated, and found their faith in him more than justified. They could not fail to be deeply struck with high admiration of the noble, self-denying philanthropy that animated the man. One felt oneself in the presence, not so much of a professional man, as of a sublime idea embodied in human form. To the young, Fröbel was indeed the revered teacher; they looked upon him with awe and reverence: but Middendorf was their own intimate friend, their associate, who knew how to throw an irresistible poetical charm, a childlike happiness about everything he touched upon. It was just such a man that Fröbel stood in need of. Nor was it an easy task to co-operate with him; it required an amount of gentle patience, of self-forgetting humility, not frequently found. His immovable conviction that he was the bearer, the servant of an infallible divine idea, made him impatient of contradiction. Of his friends he expected not only the same restless ardour which animated himself, but unconditional concurrence with and submission to everything he ordained. In 1829 he states accordingly: 'I look upon my labours and my aspirations as an unparalleled phenomenon of our time, as indispensable and salutary for all times, as offering to mankind all that it requires and longs for in every respect. I have no objection if others think otherwise. I can bear them, I can even-and I have given proof of this-live with them. Only I cannot have in common with them one and the same aim of life. But that is not my fault, it is theirs; I do not discard them, it is they who discard me.'
(To be continued.)
Lessons in English.
BY ALEXANDER BAIN, LL.D.,
THE DEFINITION OF POETRY.
We have already considered some of the ways of confounding Poetry proper with other departments, as Science, Eloquence, Morality, Religion, and have endeavoured to draw the line in each case. At the risk of some repetition, we must now survey the wide field of questions growing out of the fact that Poetry is not self-dependent, but must have a subject. This is the one main reason why it so easily passes into other provinces: assuming to be, at one time, science;
at another time oratory, and so on; professing to be poetry all the while. The arts peculiar to the poet -his images and fancies, his exquisite groupings and harmonies cannot subsist entirely apart.
The most frequent of all poetic subjects is Narrative, or Story: the ongoings of our own kindred; quidquid agunt homines. Now, to narrate is an art by itself it follows laws of its own, and involves skill in the narrator. We may have a plain narrative well told from the historian's point of view; we may have the same subject poetically adorned; the poet being now narrator and poet in one. It does not follow that the properly narrative part is well done, because it is converted into poetry: although the poet is easily led to suppose that he is as good in narrative proper, as he may be in poetical ornament.
But this is not the worst snare to be encountered. A narrative subject may have an independent interest of the very kind that the poetic art in its purest examples delights to afford. The feelings of sublimity and pathos are pre-eminently feelings belonging to Art, and, if they can be produced by a composition devoid of poetical adornment, they are still welcome. Now, many narratives inspire such feelings, although so bald and simple, as not to be confounded with poetry in the smallest degree. The remark was made by Sir G. Cornewall Lewis that the account of the battle of Marathon could not be perused for the hundredth time without emotion. So grand and inspiring was the barest relation of the incidents, that nothing more was needed to fill the mind with the sublime of heroism and devotion. Now, these are the very sentiments whose production would be regarded as a triumph of art. Nevertheless, the poetical treatment was superadded. In the Grecian Drama, as, for example, the Persæ of Eschylus, poetic genius was employed to intensify the emotions that the mere history would never fail to awaken in after ages.
If a second example is necessary, Greece can furnish it. In one of the speeches of Lysias, we have the recital of the heroic attitude of Socrates in confronting the Thirty Tyrants; and in the Memorabilia of Xenophon we learn how he stood out against the popular assembly, when urged, as Prytanis, to put an unconstitutional question to the vote. In both instances we have the moral sublime in a naked recital of the facts. The opening stanza of a well-known Ode of Horace (without apparently having Socrates in view) poetizes both situations with the felicitous brevity of the poet.
Justum et tenacem propositi virum
influence. Compare the French Revolution as treated in prosaic style, with Carlyle's treatment. Take also the Roman traditions worked up in Macaulay's Lays, and compare the one form with the other.
This last consideration will help us to understand Wordsworth's vacillation as to the nature of poetry. He lighted upon matters of fact so intensely emotional, that poetic handling seemed to be dispensed with, as scarcely contributing anything to the effect. He always observed the metrical form, which is of itself of the nature of poetry; he also used the choicest of the ordinary words that the language afforded for the expression of the fact: very often he did no more. He did not deceive himself into mistaking a lifeless, for a stirring composition. There was still enough to rouse the intended emotion, and to do this was, in his judgment, to be poetical. Take as an example the odes on "Lucy." There are stanzas heightened by poetic arts; others are entirely bald and unadorned, yet not flat or devoid of effect. There is profound pathos, without a particle of poetic elevation beyond the metre, in the lines
She lived unknown, and few could know
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!
The objection to such writing is, not that it does not move us, but that it appears within the reach of any one without being a poet. Quite different is the verse immediately preceding
A violet by a mossy stone,
Comment upon this is unnecessary.
To take another short example, "Thoughts too deep for tears," is a memorable stroke of felicitous expression; "thoughts that drew forth tears" is too perfectly hacknied and easy, although in the circumstances, pathetic.
The greatest poets of antiquity were fully conscious of the difference between interest independent of their treatment, and what was their duty as artists. Virgil and Horace chose interesting subjects; yet they knew what was requisite besides in order to form poetry. In the "Georgics," Virgil never omits an ornamental phrase (Simcox's "Latin Literature," I. 263).
A poet cannot be giving birth to felicities of expression in every line; he must at times descend to the level of good ordinary diction, while his readers have to be satisfied with the interest of the thought; yet he must not throw upon his subject, whatever that may be, the whole burden of keeping up the charm.
There still remains an important observation carrying us into the very depths of art. The poetic narrator may appear to be using language not a whit more elevated than an unpoetical historian. Nevertheless, there is something in the poet's way of bringing forward the facts that we do not find in the other. Allow that Wordsworth often gives us pages without a stroke that Mr. Austin would call "transfiguration," he yet tells a story remarkably well. What interest is in it he brings out, not merely by well-chosen, although common expressions, but by his manner of selecting and arranging the incidents. This is the merit that of all others is very difficult to make apparent. The reader is satisfied with the effect without knowing how it comes.
He does not, for example, know that the poet's delicate judgment has made omissions that would not have been made by a narrator devoid of the poetical sense. Before we say of a poet, as Jeffrey of Wordsworth, "This will never do," simply on the ground that he has too seldom ascended the brightest heaven of poetical invention, we must judge of the power of his story as due to selection of circumstances.
A good illustration of the point is supplied by the peculiarly poetic interest of Plot. A historian gives us this interest without thinking of it; his narrative contains it whether he will or not. An artistic narrator develops the interest by studying its conditions, and by suiting the choice and sequence of the facts to these conditions. Hence it is from a Walter Scott, or a Wilkie Collins, and not from an ordinary historian, that we obtain this mode of pleasure at its best.
Another example may be taken from the unfolding and mutual action of character in the Epic and the Drama. Several whole books of Homer are devoid of similes, which are Homer's great instruments of transfiguration. Nevertheless, these books receive the highest praise for other characteristics distinguishing the poet from the mere narrator.
The poet finds occasionally that the action can be made so animated and diversified that other interest is unnecessary (Gladstone's "Homer," p. 150). Yet in this we may trace a poet's hand-a power that a mere annalist could not put forth. Selection, omission, and disposition of parts, are as vital to poetry as verbal ornament. The critic has no easy task in disclosing the secrets of this branch of the poetic art. Only the poet himself could tell us all his trials and rejections; the critic or the teacher, when dealing with a consummate artist, needs to imagine what an inferior composer would have done; they can work to advantage only with an artist that mixes defects with his merits.
At a later stage, we shall have to consider the import of the term "Ideality," as applied to Poetry and Art, which will be an opportunity for making the foregoing remarks somewhat more telling.
To pass from narrative to another frequent theme of poetry-the Description of external nature. The geographer, topographer, naturalist, are rivals in this undertaking. And a great geographer, like Humboldt, describing the grandeurs of natural scenery, produces upon the minds of his readers the emotions most proper to art; emotions so genuinely artistic, that the artist desires nothing beyond. Yet a poet, to be a poet, must do something more. Happy in the intrinsic force of his subject, he must impart an additional charm from his own special handling. He may occasionally pause, and relieve the strain of invention, by falling to the level of a geographer who merely wields the common unadorned style. The greatness of the subject will tide him over short intervals of flatness of expression; but he must not forget himself too long. As remarked under Narrative, he may be exercising the less obtrusive devices of his art; the careful selection and omission of descriptive circumstances, rendering his composition effective without brilliant or distinguishing strokes of the transfiguring kind.
Leigh Hunt furnishes an apposite example from Natural History, in the treatment of the lily. A gardener and a botanist would each describe it in their
own terms, which would be perfectly plain and prosaical, but yet reflecting the intrinsic interest of the subject. The poet might adopt these, and be content. Poets have not stopped at this point. With Spenser, it is the 'lady' of the garden; with Ben Jonson
The plant and flower of light.
Let us pass next to the adoption of Doctrinal truth as a poetic subject. This includes not simply hard science in its technical and rigid dress, but also doctrinal views of the more popular kind in all matters that interest the ordinary mind. Enough has been said on the contrast of poetry and science strictly so-called; but the illustration of the points already brought forward needs to be carried a little further.
We find in the writings of critics such remarks as these "Truth of every kind belongs to the poet, provided it can bud into any kind of beauty" (Leigh Hunt). A great poet, whatever his ideas may be, must work "under the conditions immutably fixed by the laws of poetic beauty and poetic truth" (Mr. Arnold). The general principle is incontestable, but the applications are not always free from difficulty.
There is first the question as to the kind of truth that readily lends itself to poetic handling. Here, as in narrative, the poet likes to have a subject that has a sustaining interest of its own, so as to carry the reader forward when the poetic aids are intermitted. This does not apply to all kinds of truth. Moreover, some truths are even repugnant to the emotions of poetry: their value lying in their useful applications, and not in their æsthetic interest. Political economy has been called a "dismal" science, because its doctrines are unpalatable in the statement, however valuable as guidance. Thomas Campbell regards the optical explanation of the rainbow as anti-poetical. On the other hand, the grandeurs of Astronomy are half way to poetry, before the poet puts his hand to them.
The poet and the scientific man cannot travel long together. Science to fulfil its vocation must be precise; this needs limitations, qualifications, and, often, numerical statements, which freeze up poetry. Plato is said to have given a poetical philosophy, but when he was most scientific he abandoned the poetic dress. It is in the less exact departments of science, as Ethics, Politics, Esthetics, that least resistance is offered to the poetic handling. There are also practical sciences of great human interest, and for this reason are they seized hold of in poetry.
A worse incompatibility remains. The poet, when he finds a truth not to his liking, forthwith derides, evades, or perverts it. If the scientific man remonstrates, he is called a "black-browed sophist," he is "foul with sin" (Tennyson); he is denounced as capable of "botanising on a mother's grave" (Wordsworth). The fallacy of the Stoics that—" There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so," finds favour with our poets. In the zeal to make the external world more poetical, even the stars are tampered with; the fiction of sphere music is adopted and improved upon, until we reach the gorgeous Shakespearian lines
"Not a star that thou beholdest...."
Excepting as a bad example, this does no harm.
Tennyson's attempts to disparage Geology by his poetic indignation may be seen in In Memoriam, 119, 123.
Leigh Hunt tells us :-"A true poet is by nature a metaphysician; far greater in general than metaphysicians professed. He feels instinctively what the others get at by long standing." To laud the power of instinct is a most agreeable flattery; it relieves us from the pains of laborious research.
The kind of science or doctrine that plays the greatest part as a subject of poetry is what bears upon human life in its manifold aspects-upon politics, morality, and the theory of right living. Political saws are very frequent matter for poetic allusion. They abound in our great poets from Shakespeare to Tennyson. The proper relations of ruler and subjects, the duties and the rights of each, frequently come up in connection with epic and dramatic themes. These have an interest in themselves, from their relation to human wellbeing; and a poet may trust to their aid for carrying the reader on, while his art is in abeyance.
It is easy to pronounce on what occasions they are properly admitted into poetry; whether they are shaped for poetical effect, and whether or not they are assisted by the poet's own art. There is poetry in the lines of Goldsmith
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
This is a welcome sentiment, poetically expressed. The inferior orders of society are pleased and flattered to be told of the flimsy tenure of" princes and lords "; although very little discernment is necessary to show its want of truth. Much more than a breath is necessary to make princes and lords.
Tennyson also abounds in political commonplaces, often exquisitely touched, but without being made more scientifically true.
More usual still is it for poets to introduce Morality, or the principles of moral right and wrong, to enhance the interest and the worth of their compositions. This is perfectly admissible, on the understanding that the morality is not the poetry; although the union of the two makes a highly meritorious work; just as the union of poetry and abstract science would be, if, as can seldom happen, the two were reconcileable. A poet that can carry along with him an intensely interesting subject, and give it a full poetical treatment, is necessarily greater than one that bestows the same degree of poetic force on a neutral or indifferent subject.
The first and simplest of moral applications is to deal out justice to persons according to the received moral standard. The ordinary novelist must do this to be tolerated. It belongs to the art of pleasing the audience addressed. It was incumbent on Homer, so far as his story allowed. Scott is a master of the proprieties of poetic justice.
A poet may take a higher flight, and make his poem purposely moral: that is, he may shape his characters and incidents with the express view of setting forth the punishment of vice and the reward of virtue. This was exemplified in many of the ancient tragedies; the greatest modern instance is Dante. Such works are not simple poems: they are more or less successful combinations of moral preaching with poetry, neither of which attains perfection under such a plan. The compound is fascinating from the circumstance,
already adverted to, that a poetical morality is not intended for practice.
The poet's loftiest aim, in connection with moral good and evil, is to "vindicate the ways of God to man," to grapple with the anomalies of good men made to suffer and bad men triumphant. In adopting incidents from actual life, such difficulties are not to be glossed over by the idealising process. This was the theme of the ancient tragedy, and has drawn forth the most powerful strains of poetic inspiration and originality. Apart from such a splendid result, it would scarcely be a proper subject for poetry it deviates too far from the condition of being agreeable. Had Shakespeare, however, never grappled with tragic themes, we should not have known the compass of his genius. Nevertheless, these subjects must be considered exceptional; they should be chosen only because of the poetic merits that they give birth to. The fascination of suffering must not be carried far; the indulgence is degrading to human nature. All literatures are full of the abuse of the license. The treatment of the problem of evil, by Milton and by Pope, is too argumentative for poetry; it is more on the level of the theological chair.
Different from all these modes of introducing moral themes, although freely intermingling with them, is the employment of poetry as Life-guidance, and "Lifecriticism," a phrase invented by Mr. Matthew Arnold, and given by him, with certain limitations, as a definition of poetry. That Life-criticism is not the essence, but a valuable adjunct of poetry, and a characteristic of certain poets, for example, Wordsworth, has been abundantly shown by Mr. Austin. But, indeed, we need to study carefully the exemplary instances, in order to know what the phrase exactly means, for, like many other general words applied for the purpose of a definition of poetry, it has a variety of senses.
One meaning of the phrase is given by its author"How to live." To teach the art of living well is a vast function, requiring immense knowledge of human nature and human life. Now, it would seem proper that whoever aspires to this great undertaking should be disenthralled from the conditions of poetic form, and should give his whole mind to making his directions just and clear. In point of fact, however, the poet has never done more than adopt the received formulas of right living, and put them in an attractive dress. He avails himself of the interest attaching to the great question of how to live, and merely superadds his own treatment to enhance what he does not create. If we were anxious for more specific and literal directions as to the conduct of life than are furnished by the old common-places; if we wanted some clear rules to go by, we should gladly dispense with the poetic dress (which is the enemy of precision) and prefer a style as bald as Euclid's, and as technical as Jeremy Bentham's. No man would steer a ship round Cape Horn and across the Pacific upon a poetical guide to navigation. But let us see a characteristic example of Wordsworth's Life-guidance :
Of truth, of grandeur, beauty, love and hope,
Of blessed consolations in distress,
This is noble phraseology, and lifts the imagination above the vulgar routine of life. The first line is a series of qualities to aim at; but they must be viewed
emotionally rather than intellectually. "Truth" in the mind of the poet is quite different from truth in science or in practice. "Grandeur" and "beauty" are the distinctive qualities of all art. "Love" is a poet's favourite subject, owing to its intrinsic charm. The idea of "Hope" always captivates us. There is a cumulative charm in the entire collocation; but there is neither direction nor instruction to be obtained from it.
The second and third lines express a high function of poetry, for which mankind will never cease to be grateful. It is the most notable of all the functions included under the vague designation "Life-criticism," or "How to live." "Melancholy fear subdued by faith, and blessed consolations in distress" express one of the perennial wants of human life. It is not exactly telling us how to live; although indirectly affording us assistance in right living.
If we lose sight of the fact that Art in general and Poetry in particular are meant to impart pleasure, as their primary end, we fall into endless confusion. There is, however, a bad association with the name "pleasure" that makes us wish to disconnect it from the noble vocation of the poet. But we have not the like objection to be relieved from melancholy and distress; nevertheless, this can be done only by the same arts that contribute to heighten our enjoyment, when we are already in some degree happy. To make the distressed more so, and to plunge the happy or the neutral into distress, would not be a good work. Far better than Life-criticism or Life-guidance would be a definition of poetry that took the two lines above quoted for the key-note. Poetry, whether or not it criticises life, should use its peculiar resources to make us less miserable or more joyous. As relief in depression, as consolation in sorrow, as an antidote to the ills of life, poetry has been welcomed since it first began. What would be the worth of grandeur or beauty, were it not to make life more endurable and more buoyant? If the poet performs any other function at the same time; if he instructs us in the laws of things; if he directs our paths when we are in difficulty, -all these are superadded functions, and must not displace the primary requisite of contributing to our enjoyment or lessening our misery.
We recognise, then, the general fact, that Poetry, as a Fine Art, is pain-allaying and pleasure-imparting. By what innumerable devices it accomplishes this high vocation, the entire compass of Rhetoric alone can tell. But with a view to the settlement of the disputed border-land of poetry and life-guidance, we need to remark that poetry has certain specific ways of operating, and takes more especially in hand a certain class of pains to be alleviated. First, however, let us complete the comment on Wordsworth's lines. The fourth-"Of moral strength and intellectual power" -is not suggestive of anything peculiar. The novel point lies in the fifth :-" Of joy in widest commonalty spread." Here we have a very notable moral ideathe finding of our pleasure in the pleasure of others. It does not directly imply self-sacrifice, but it involves a regard to the welfare of a wide-surrounding circle. If poetry is able to help in this object, it is more than pleasure-giving, or than distress-alleviating; it fosters social duty, which is what the moral teacher in all ages has been striving to accomplish. So vital is this operation, that we excuse any man, whatever his principal function may be, for stepping aside even from that