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dwellers in the quiet groves of Academus; and yet these same students, when absent from their universities, appear to be persons of peaceful and respectable habits, earnest in the pursuit of knowledge, and often battling courageously for its attainment in the very teeth of poverty and its concomitant disadvantages.'
• The fearless, lawless air of a German student bespeaks a man who dreams of equality of station and unlimited license, and who will bluster about his rights and expectancies boldly and fiercely, at least while the hey-day of youth lasts. His mind is like his dress, manly and fanciful, but the black cravated student of the pays latin shows in his thoughtful eye, and abstracted yet ardent look, the spirit that never dies, the ab, sorbing hope which clings to the heart through life, and never loses sight of the indemnifying moment. Perhaps the cause of an observation frequently made, that a German youth, on quitting college, soon forgets the day-dream of liberty, the projected efforts of patriotism which have amused his boyhood, and quietly settles into the peaceful subject of some petty prince, while a Frenchman who has once taken a political bias, rarely sobers down into the pliant and contented citizen of a government inimical to his early opinions and feelings, may be traced to the different positions of their respective countries. The one, a member of a vast empire divided into many states, more or less powerful, can never hope to see the different portions of his variously ruled country united under one enlightened and paternal system of government, while from the still and unpartitioned state of France, every Frenchman looks to one central point, from which a constitution, inspired by the love of liberty, and matured by wisdom,--a constitution, affording equal protection and equal advantages to all, may emanate.'
Of the Italians, she says,
« The Italian character has great breadth and raciness, and a fine natural colouring, never sullied by affectation ; not but they are tricking too in their way, but their cunning goes straight forward to its aim, and is never wasted on points of display or vanity,—things which rarely enter into an Italian head. Fashion, whose laws are in England a kind of interior police, by which our most domestic concerns are regulated, ha tle influence here; the Italians, as Madame de Staël has observed with her usual skill in character, “ ne font rien, parce qu'on les “ regarde, et ne s'abstiennent de rien, parce qu'on les regarde.'
• Unquestionably the Italians are the noisiest people in Europe,singing like angels, and talking (as far as voice is concerned) like traf. fickers in fish or charcoal, the ear knows not whether it seizes the notes of a prima donna, or of a macaroni vender. Last night, a party from Milan, (capital gentry, our hostess said,) who were either convivial or quarrelsome till an unreasonably late hour, put sleep quite out of the question,—such shouting,--such screaming, -a dozen voices raised together, and sustained with incredible power of lungs,—each striving to maintain the upper key, but a sharp female treble always lady of the ascendant. And then the hostess, with soft, sweet eyes, and a delicate
outline, raving like an infuriated bacchante, and even the little girl of the bodkins throwing in a note. It is extraordinary that a people whose song is all passionate tenderness,—all soul,—all sweetness,—should have frequently the speaking voices of porters and oyster women. Yet they are a kind, good tempered people,—not rough, I think, in any thing but their voices. I have seen instances of flexible mildness in Italy, that were really edifying.'
What is said on the unpoetical temperament of the Swiss, is not new; but it is well expressed :
• The Swiss are an excellent people,-calm, religious, lovers of order, good citizens, worthy of liberty, and strong to maintain it. But they are neither poets nor painters. A country that might
66 Create a soul,
Under the ribs of death," seems to act like a wet blanket on the fancy. A man naturally imaginative, but who has always lived in the world, may perhaps be more sensible of the soul-stirring marvels of nature when they suddenly open on him, than one who has grown up in the midst of her familiar and unheeded riches, though he may not prize or love them with such home feelings. But I am surprised that the constant intimacy with scenes and objects of infinite beauty and splendour, does not give an habitual colouring of poetry to the mind. I can comprehend why a man of acute understanding, liberal education, and studious habits, but unaccustomed to society or the intercourse of the world, may fail in the developement of the passions. Man’s nature is intricate, and must be studied intensely. He who would lay open the magnificent structure of the human mind, must watch it through the changeful phases of active life, and meditate what he has there marked, in the stillness of solitude, with the door barred upon
the world and its distractions. But nature is more communicative than man; she spreads open her page, and he who will may read its ample characters, and catch light and inspiration from them. But light comes not here, nor inspiration either. Why it does not is a problem, the solution of which I leave to others.'
There is not much allusion to works of art; but there is enough to show an appreciation of their merits, unmixed with the cant
of connoisseurship. Michael Angelo and Caravaggio are well distinguished :
• In the chapel is a Pieta (basso relievo) by Michael Angelo, full of beauty and expression. This powerful master was not often tender, but he could be so; the proof is here. I once knew a clever man who greatly admired Caravaggio, and used to place him on a line with Michael Angelo. Caravaggio, too, was a genius, one full of strong, broad-shouldered ideas; a perturbed and gloomy spirit, throwing his dark soul out upon his canvass with startling effect; but he did not think or feel like Michael Angelo, his genius was not sublime; he painted
like a coarse bad man, of monstrous capacity, but not like one who had unsealed the book of judgment, or lifted up the Pantheon and hung it in the air.'
The following remarks on the works of two celebrated portraitpainters are equally just :
• Genoa is rich in living portraits,-portraits that one dares not trust with a secret. I should as soon think of conspiring against the state, before the “ reverend signiors” of the assembled senate, as in the presence of those lofty Dorias or Durazzi, or even of their gentle wives, who look and listen till you feel almost confused at having discussed their charms as it were in their hearing. Vandyke was a powerful master; few have possessed in a higher degree the art of giving vitality to their portraits. Unlike the glossy monotony of Sir Peter Lely, (whose courtly shepherdesses are all as like each other as the fifty daughters of Danaus, in the melodrame,) his personages have the air of life so freshly on them, that when we see the same portraits a second time, it is like meeting old acquaintances, family people with whom one has lived in friendly intercourse. We contract an intimacy with them, as we do with the dramatis personæ of Sir Walter Scott's novels. Who that has ever contemplated Vandyke's portrait of Charles I., but fancies he has seen and known that melancholy visage ? or read Rob Roy, without the conviction of having been personally acquainted with Bailie Jarvie?'
We are tempted to extend our quotations to some of the many short anecdotes and lively sketches which meet our eye at every turn; but we should mar their effect, if we were to take them out of their setting. We differ from the authoress on some subjects ; but they are either not sufficiently important to demand discussion, or too extensive for the slight notice which our limits will afford. As an instance of the former, we would say that she has not done justice to the beauties of Heidelberg; of the latter, that she over-rates the beneficence of Napoleon's sway in Italy. We complain, too, of occasional sentimental deviations from that good sense which characterises the greater part of the work. To be shocked at finding a spacious comfortable boarding-house at Nonnenwerth, and a steam-boat on the Lake of Como, is neither sensible nor original. Any mawkish twaddler, can put in a claim to fine feeling by such fastidious agonies as these. "Nor is there much of either wisdom or taste in the following passage :
• What a country for the geologist !—but to me who know nothing of the ologies ; who am altogether ignorant of the sweet science and mystery of lichens; to whom gypsum is Hebrew, and who can hardly tell limestone from sandstone; to me, in short, who dare not mention the word strata, and have no other name for the starved yellow flower that represents Flora in this bleak region, than mere marigold; it is only
a grey desert, long, and drear, and uniform, but solemn and original, a chaotic and forgotten nature, made and left in anger.'
This is too much like that tone of mock humility, in which persons immeasurably inferior to this writer, try to avert the imputation of some species of knowledge of which they have no chance of being accused, and of which, could the charge be proved, they would have reason to be proud. Neither geology nor botany are such despicable sciences, that, to possess a knowledge of the one or the other, need lower the authoress in her own estimation, or in that of any rational person. We must also observe that the fertility of her fancy, while indulging in simile and illustration, sometimes leads her into those prettinesses which are best expressed by the Italian word. concetti;' and sometimes, to use the words of Sheridan, we have tropes and metaphors almost as plentiful as nouns-substantive. We may farther notice, among minor errors, the unusual employment of certain words--such as ori
ginal,' and benediction. The former is more than once oddly applied to natural scenery; and the latter still more strangely. A little gunpowder,' she says, “judiciously applied to a few of
the flamingr ed, red houses, that stare at one everywhere, • and put out the eyes with their effrontery of brick-dust
, would be a benediction. There are benedictions for the ears, too. At an opera at Lucerne, she says, never was noise as loud, yet so merciless ;-a dozen kettle-drums would have been a benediction. The same serviceable word may be found masquerading in other places, and with the same disregard of its everyday meaning. We notice this, because an inclination to disregard the usual import of words is too observable in other instances. Here end our censures—and we conclude with a cordial recommendation of this work as one that will animate the untravelled by its promises, and gratify the travelled by the recollections it awakens.
ART. VIII.---Animal and Vegetable Physiology considered with
reference to Natural Theology. By Peter Mark Roger, M.D., Secretary to the Royal Society. 2 vols. 8vo. London : 1834.
TH he ideas which are excited in the mind by the contemplation
of the planets of our system, and by the study of the siderial universe, are at once impressive and sublime. The most gigantic intellect stands awe-struck amid the miracles of revolving worlds ; and it is only when the transports of veneration are subdued, and the reaction of self-abasement is past, that the mind recovers its wonted serenity. This tumult of mental excitation, however, is not calculated to produce permanent and useful impressions. A slight portion of unbelief, or, at least, of scepticism, mingles itself with the piety of our astronomical reasonings; and, however unwilling we may be to confess the venial heresy, yet its truth may be inferred from the existence of inde
vout astronomers,' and the transitory influence of all objects whose real phenomena are not visible to the eye, and whose attributes of magnitude and of distance are inferred, and not apprehended by the senses.
The evidence of Divine power and wisdom, as exhibited in the mechanism of the heavens, varies in its intensity with the knowledge of the individual, with his habits of thought, and with his mental docility, or disposition to rely on the testimony of others. It is impossible to apprehend the magnificence, and order, and beauty of the system of the universe, unless we know the facts, and understand the laws, from which the magnitude, and arrangement, and motions of its constituent parts have been determined ; and unless we are thoroughly convinced that such a system is the legitimate consequence of the facts and laws upon which it is founded. Such profound and varied knowledge, however, is the portion of but a few gifted individuals; and hence the great body of educated men, and all those who have not received the advantage of a scientific education, must rest their conviction on the testimony of the chosen few who have been permitted to explore the mysteries of the inanimate universe. But this species of conviction is feeble in its intensity, and unsettled in its influence. We naturally rely on the testimony of good men in favour of facts which they have witnessed ; but the reasonings and deductions of the same persons are received always with distrust, sometimes with unbelief, and never with absolute confidence. We place to the credit of our disbelief their mistakes and failures