« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
RELATED BY HIMSELF.
mission attitude before the fire, and the guests one and all All the instruments.--Pray tell us all about it? took their leave. They were all cloaking together in the Second Violoncello. It is a difficult task. The Symentry, when his lordship leaned over the bannister. phony we have just played is a musical monster. It is not
"Have you your chariot, Lord Frederick ?” he asked. the execution of any particular thought, and no object is re“ Yes—it's at the door now!"
garded except that of appearing novel and original. We Lady Aymar suggests that perhaps you'll set down have to climb up, like the violin. Count Pallardos, on your way!"
First Violoncello, (interrupting.)- Just as if I could “ Why—ah, certainly, certainly !" replied Lord Frederick, || not do it as well. with some hesitation.
Second Violin. Let every one attend to his own business. “My thanks to Lady Aymar,” said Spiridion very quietly, Tenor.Certainly, for I stand still between; and what "but say to her ladyship that I am provided with overshoes || would people say of me? and umbrella! Shall I offer your lordship half of the latter ?' First Violoncello.- Nobody speaks of you now-a-days. added he in another key, leaning with cool mock-earnest- || The object of your existence is to float along in unison with ness towards Lord Frederick, who only stared a reply as he us, or you are intended to create horrour and excitement. passed out to his chariot.
We have an instance of your value in the Waterman; but, And marvelling who would undergo such humiliations and as far as melody goes such antagonism as had been his lot that evening, for any. First Oboe. There, surely, nobody can compare with thing else than the love of a Lady Angelica, Count Spiridion me. stepped forth into the rain to grope his way to his obscure Pirst Clarionet.-You will allow us, madame, to mention lodgings in Parliament-street.
our talents ?
First Flute.—Yes, if you confine your remarks to marches (We are averse to "to-be-continueds," but the whole
and weddings. value of this tale being the separate pictures it presents of
First Bassoon.-Who comes nearer to the glorious tenor scenes in high-life, we do not hesitate to stop with finish. than myself? ing one of them. Another will be given in the next num.
First Horn.—You surely don't imagine that you unite as ber, and will, like this, be a distinct sketch, if not the con
much softness and strength as I do? clusion of the story.)
Piano.—And what is all this compared with the fulness
of harmony I contain? Where you all are only parts of the DREAM OF CARL MARIA VON WEBER.
whole, I am independent, and
All the instruments, (crying together.) —Ah, be quiet, I Had one morning finished a symphony, which pleased | do !-you cannot even sustain a single tone. me. After an excellent dinner, I fell into a gentle slumber.
First Oboe.-No portamento. Suddenly I found myself in the concert-room, where all Second Flagelet.—Mamma is in the right. the instruments held an assembly; the sentimental Oboe, Second Violoncello.—No proper tone can be heard in all brimful of naive pertness, presiding. On the right a party
this noise! had formed, consisting of Viole d'amour, Basset horn, Viole Trumpets and Drums, (interrupting fortissimo)—Si di Gamba and Flute douce, who were be wailing the good lence! we, too, mean to be heard. What would the entire old times. On the left the Lady Oboe had formed a circle composition be without our effect? If we don't crash, not a of young and old Flutes and Clarionets, with and without soul will applaud. the innumerable modern keys. In their midst stood the Flute.-" The emptiest things reverberate most sound.” gallant Piano, surrounded by a few sweet Violins, who had The sublime lives in a whisper. been educated in the school of Pleyel and Gyrowetz. The First Violin. If I were not to lead you, you would all Trumpets and Horns feasted in a corner; and the Piccolo be valueless. Flutes and Flageolets were noisy in the hall, with their in Double-bass, (jumping up.)-Stuff and nonsense! I keep nocent and childish mirth, which pleased their mamma Oboe, | the whole together. Without me you would be of no who assured them that their tones possessed the genius of account. Jean Paul, elevated by the skill of Pestalozzi.
All the instruments (together.) -I alone am the soul, and All were in high glee when, suddenly, the old Double without me you are nothing ! bass, (accompanied by a few of his kin, the Violoncellos,) Suddenly the director entered, and the instruments separushed into the room, and, full of ill-humour, threw himselfrated, frightened, for they feared his powerful hand, which into the director's chair, with such a force that all the sur- 1 gathered and carried them to rehearsal. rounding string-instruments, in their fright, vibrated with “ Just wait!” he exclaimed. “You rebels. The Symapprehension.
phony E. of Beethoven is to be laid before you, and then “I am undone,” he exclaimed, “ if such compositions are we shall see whether you dare to do more than is set down to occur every day! I just came from the rehearsal of a for you. Every one of you will be confined to the score." Symphony, by one of these new composers; and though, as Ah, anything but that!" they all exclaimed. you all know, I have a pretty strong and powerful constitu “Rather an Italian opera,” said the Tenor; “ there, at tion, I could not have held out a moment longer, and in five least, I can occasionally nod.” minutes more my bridge would have broken, or the cords “ Nonsense!" answered the director. “ You will soon be of my life have snapped, for they made me jump and rave | taught otherwise. Do you think that, in our enlightened like a madman. I would rather be turned into a common times, when the artist overleaps all minor obstacles, that a dance-fiddle, and earn my bread at Miller's or Kauer's balls, || composer should curb, on your account, the glorious sweep than to be a violin, and be compelled to execute the new-of his imagination? The object is not now clearness or dis. fangled ideas of these new composers."
tinctness. The times have changed since those old masters, First Violoncello, (wiping his forehead.)-You are in Gluck, Handel and Mozart wrote. Listen to a plot that the right. I, too, am more fatigued than I remember to I have received from Vienna, and then judge for yourselves. have been since the time of Cherubini's operas.
First a slow tempo, full of short, scattered ideas, three to
four notes every quarter of an hour—then a kettle-drum, and nearly to the feeling he has of his personal identity; and some mysterious tenor-tones, adorned with a quantity of this image of himself, rising from his thoughts, and shroud. pauses and rests !--next a furious tempo, wherein no prin- ing his faculties, is that which sits with him in the house, cipal idea becomes so apparent as to leave the auditor time The best part of his existence is dull, cloudy, leaden: the
walks out with him into the street, and haunts his bed-side. to think. Rapid transition from one tone to another must flashes of light that proceed from it, or streak it here and succeed. At last take a run through semitones, and then there, may dazzle others, but do not deceive himself. rest upon the particular tone we wish, and the modulation Modesty is the lowest of the virtues, and is a real confession is done. Upon the whole, avoid everything regular, for rule of the deficiency it indicates. He who undervalues himself
is justly undervalued by others. Whatever good properties only binds genius.
he may possess are, in fact, neutralized by a "cold rheum” Here the string of a guitar that hung over me suddenly running through his veins, and taking away the zest of his bürst, and I awoke, just as I was on the eve of becoming a pretensions, the pith and marrow of his performances. What
is to me that I can write. It is true I can, by a reluctant great composer of the modern school ; or, in other words, a
effort, rake up a parcel of half-forgotten observations, but fool. Thanks to thee, friendly companion of my song, for they do not float on the surface of my mind, nor stir it with this attention. I hurried quickly to my just completed work, || any sense of pleasure, nor even of pride. Others have more found that it was not according to the plot of the learned property in them than I have: they may reap the benefit, I Venetian director, and, with the heavenly anticipations of | have only had the pain. Otherwise, they are to me as if
they had never existed; nor should I know that I had success in my breast, walked leisurely to rehearsal.
ever thought at all, but that I am reminded of it by the
strangeness of my appearance, and my unfitness for everyKNOWLEDGE OF CHARACTER.
There are people whom we do not like, though we may It is astonishing, with all our opportunities and practice, have known them long, and have no fault to find with them, how little we know of this subject. For myself, I feel that except that their appearance is so much against them. That the more I learn, the less I understand it.
is not all, if we could find it out. There is, generally, a I remember, several years ago, a conversation in the dili. reason for this prejudice; for nature is true to itself. They gence coming from Paris, in which, on its being mentioned || may be very good sort of people, too, in their way, but still that a man had married his wife after thirteen years court- something is the matter. There is a coldness, a selfishness, ship, a fellow-countryman of mine observed, that " then, at a levity, an insincerity, which we cannot fix upon any parleast, he would be acquainted with her character;" when a ticular phrase or action, but we see it in their whole persons Monsieur P—, inventor and proprietor of the invisible girl, and deportment. One reason that we do not see it in any made answer, “ No, not at all; for that the very next day she other way may be, that they are all the time trying to conmight turn out the very reverse of the character that she had ceal this defect by every means in their power. There is, appeared in during all the preceding time."* I could not luckily, a sort of second-sight in morals: we discern the help admiring the superior sagacity of the French juggler, lurking indications of temper and habit a long while before and it struck me then that we could never be sure when we their palpable effects appear. I once used to meet with a had got at the bottom of this riddle.
person at an ordinary, a very civil, good-looking man in There are various ways of getting at a knowledge of other respects, but with an odd look about his eyes, which character-by looks, words, actions. The first of these, | I could not explain, as if he saw you under their fringed lids, wbich seems the most superficial, is perhaps the safest, and and you could not see him again: this man was a common least liable to deceive: nay, it is that which mankind, in sharper. The greatest hypocrite I ever knew was a little, spite of their pretending to the contrary, are generally gov- demure, pretty, modest-looking girl, with eyes timidly cast erned by. Professions pass for nothing, and actions may | upon the ground, and an air soft as enchantment; the only be counterfeited: but a man cannot help his looks. || circumstance that could lead to a suspicion of her true char. “Speech," said a celebrated wit, “ was given to man to
acter was a cold, sullen, watery, glazed look about the eyes, conceal his thoughts." Yet I do not know that the greatest which she bent on vacancy, as if determined to avoid all hypocrites are the least silent.
explanation with yours. I might have spied in their glitterFirst impressions are often the truest, as we find (not un.
ing, motionless surface, the rocks and quicksands that await. frequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out
ed me below! We do not feel quite at ease in the company of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's
or friendship of those who have any natural obliquity or look is the work of years, it is stamped on his countenance imperfection of person. The reason is, they are not on the by the events of his whole life, nay more, by the hand of best terms with themselves, and are sometimes apt to play nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily. There is, as it loff on others the tricks that nature has played them. This, has been remarked repeatedly, something in a person's ap
however, is a remark that, perhaps, ought not to have been pearance at first sight which we do not like, and that gives
I know a person to whom it has been objected as us an odd twinge, but which is overlooked in a multiplicity
made. of other circumstances, till the mask is taken off, and we
a disqualification for friendship, that he never shakes you see this lurking character verified in the plainest manner in cordially by the hand. I own this is a damper to sanguine the sequel. We are struck at first, and by chance, with and florid temperaments, who abound in these practical de. what is peculiar and characteristic; also with permanent monstrations and compliments extern." The same pertraits and general effect: these afterwards go off in a set of last
' to quit his seat in your company, grapples with a subject
son, who testifies the least pleasure at meeting you, is the unmeaning, commonplace details. This sort of prima facie evidence, then, shows what a man is, better than what he in conversation right earnestly, and is, I take it, backward says or does; for it shows us the habit of his mind, which is
to give up a cause or a friend. Cold and distant in appearthe same under all circumstances and disguises. 'You will ance, he piques himself on being the king of good haters, say, on the other hand, that there is no judging by appear. Istitutions often contain the most inflammable spirits—a8
and a no less zealous partisan. The most phlegmatic conances, as a general rule. No one, for instance, would take fire is struck from the hardest flints. such a person for a very clever man without knowing who he was. Then, ten to one, he is not: he may have got the of character. Extremes meet; and qualities display them
And this is another reason that makes it difficult to judge reputation, but it is a mistake. You say, there is Mr.undoubtedly a person of great genius: yet, except when ex
selves by the most contradictory appearances. Any inclina. cited by something extraordinary, he seems hall dead. He tion, in consequence of being generally suppressed, vents has wit at will, yet wants life and spirit. He is capable of itself the more violently when an opportunity presents itself; the most generous acts, yet meanness seems to cling to refinement, as a natural relief, one to the other; and we
the greatest grossness sometimes accompanies the greatest every motion. He looks like a poor creature--and in truth | find the most reserved and indifferent tempers at the beginhe is one! The first impression he gives you of him answers ning of an entertainment, or an acquaintance, turn out the
most communicative and cordial at the end of it. Some ** It is not a year or two shows us a man."-Emilia, in spirits exhaust themselves at first; others gain strength by OTHELLO.
progression. Some minds have a greater facility of throw.
ing off impressions, and are, as it were, more transparent or and they try all they can to pull them down to their own porous than others. Thus the French present a marked level. They do this by getting up a little comic interlude, contrast to the English in this respect. A Frenchman ad. a daily, domestic, homely drama out of the odds and ends of dresses you at once with a sort of lively indifference: an the family-failings, of which there is in general a pretty plen. Englishman is more on his guard, feels his way, and is either tiful supply, or make up the deficiency of materials out of exceedingly silent, or lets you into his whole confidence, | their own heads. They turn the qualities of their masters which he cannot go well impart to an entire stranger. i and mistresses inside out, and any real kindness or condeAgain, a Frenchman is naturally humane: an Englishman scension only sets them the more against you. They are is, I should say, only friendly by habit. His virtues and his not to be taken in in that way—they will not be baulked in vices cost him more than they do his more gay and volatile | the spite they have to you. They only set to work with re. neighbours. An Englishman is said to speak his mind more doubled alacrity, to lesson the favour or to blacken your plainly than others:-yes, if it will give you pain to hear it. character. They feel themselves like a degraded caste, and He does not care whom he offends by his discourse; a for. cannot understand how the obligations can be all on one eigner generally strives to oblige in what he says. The side, and the advantages all on the other. You cannot French are accused of promising more than they perform.come to equal terms with them they reject all such overThat may be, and yet they may perform as many good-na- tures as insidious and hollow-nor can you ever calculate tured acts as the English, if the latter are as averse to per. upon their gratitude or good-will, any more than if they form as they are to promise. Even the professions of the were so many strolling gipsies or wild Indians. They have French may be sincere at the time, or arise out of the im. no fellow-feeling, they keep no faith with the more privi. pulse of the moment; though their desire to serve you may leged classes. They are in your power, they endeavour be neither very violent nor very lasting. I cannot think, to be even with you by trick and cunning, by lying and notwithstanding, that the French are not a serious people; chicanery. In this they have nothing to restrain them. nay, that they are not a more reflecting people than the Their whole life is a succession of shifts, excuses, and excommon run of the English. Let those who think them pedients. The love of truth is a principle with those only merely light and mercurial, explain that enigma, their ever- who have made it their study, who have applied themselves lasting prosing tragedy. The English are considered as to the pursuit of some art or science, where the intellect is comparatively a slow, plodding people. If the French are severely tasked, and learns by habit to take a pride in, and quicker, they are also more plodding. See, for example, i to set a just value on the correctness of its conclusions. To how highly finished and elaborate their works of art are ! have a disinterested regard for truth, the mind must have How systematic and correct they aim at being in all their contemplated it in abstract and remote questions; whereas productions of a graver cast! “ If the French have a fault,” | the ignorant and vulgar are only conversant with those as Yorick said, “it is that they are too grave.” With wit, | things in which their own interest is concerned. All their sense, cheerfulness, patience, good-nature, and refinement notions are local, personal, and consequently gross and selfish. of manners, all they want is imagination and sturdiness of They say whatever comes uppermo it-turn whatever hapmoral principle! Such are soine of the contradictions in the pens to their own account-and invent any story, or give character of the two nations, and so little does the character any answer that suits their purpose. Instead of being bigotof either appear to have been understood! Nothing can be led to general principles they trump up any lie for the occa. more ridiculous, indeed, than the way in which we exagger. sion, and the more of a thumper it is, the better they like it; ate each other's vices and extenuate our own. The whole the more unlooked-for it is, why, so much the more of a is an affair of prejudice on one side of the question, and of God-send! They have no conscience about the matter; partiality on the other. Travellers who set out to carry back and if you find them out in any of their maneuvres, are not a true report of the case appear to lose not only the use of ashamed of themselves, but angry with you. If you remontheir understandings, but of their senses, the instant they set strate with them, they laugh in your face. The only hold foot in a foreign land. The commonest facts and appear you have of them is their interest--you can but dismiss them ances are distorted and discoloured. They go abroad with from your employment; and service is no inheritance. If certain preconceived notions on the subject, and they make they affect anything like decent remorse, and hope you will everything answer, in reason's spite, to their favourite theo. ll pass it over, all the while they are probably trying to recover ry. In addition to the difficulty of explaining customs and the wind of you. Persons of liberal knowledge or sentimanners foreign to our own, there are all the obstacles of ments have no kind of chance in this sort of mixed interwilful prepossession thrown in the way. It is not, therefore, course with these barbarians in civilized life. You cannot much to be wondered at that nations have arrived at so little tell, by any signs or principles, what is passing in their minds. knowledge of one another's characters; and that, where the There is no common point of view between you. You object has been to widen the breach between them, any have not the same topics to refer to, the same language to Alight differences that occur are easily blown into a blaze of express yourself. Your interests, your feelings are quite fury by repeated misrepresentations, and all the exaggera- | distinct. You take certain things for granted as rules of tions that malice or folly can invent!
action; they take nothing for granted but their own ends, This ignorance of character is not confined to foreign pick up all their knowledge out of their own occasions, are nations; we are ignorant of that of our own countrymen in on the watch only for what they can catch-are a class a little below or above ourselves. We can hardly
“ Subtle as the fox for prey ; pretend to pronounce magisterially on the good or bad quali
Like warlike as the wolf, for what they eat.' ties of strangers; and, at the same time, we are ignorant of those of our friends, of our kindred, and of our own. We They have indeed a regard to their character, as this last are in all these cases either too near or too far off the ob- may affect their livelihood or advancement, none as it is ject, to judge of it properly.
connected with a sense of propriety; and this sets their Persons, for instance, in a higher or middle rank of life mother-wit and native talents at work upon a double file of know little or nothing of the characters of those below them, expedients, to bilk their consciences, and salve their reputa. as servants, country-people, etc. I would lay it down in the | tion. In short, you never know where to have them, any first place as a general rule on this subject, that all unedu- more than if they were a different species of animals; and cated people are hypocrites. Their sole business is to de- || in trusting to them, you are sure to be betrayed and over. ceive. They imagine themselves in a state of hostility with reached. You have other things to mind, they are thinking others, and stratagems are fair in war. The inmates of the only of you, and how to turn you to advantage. Give and kitchen and the parlour are always (as far as respects their take is no maxim here. You can build nothing on your feelings and intentions towards each other) in Hobbes's own moderation or on their false delicacy. After a familiar “state of nature.” Servants and others in that line of life conversation with a waiter at a tavern, you overhear him have nothing to exercise their spare talents for invention calling you by some provoking nickname. If you make a upon but those about them. Their superfluous electrical par- | present to the daughter of the house where you lodge, the ticles of wit and fancy are not carried off by those establish- mother is sure to recollect some addition to her bill. It is a ed and fashionable conductors, novels and romances. Their running fight. In fact, there is a principle in human nature faculties are not buried in books, but all alive and stirring, not willingly to endure the idea of a superior, a sour jacoerect and bristling like a cat's back. Their coarse conver- | binical disposition to wipe out the score of obligation, or sation sparkles with “wild wit, invention ever new.” Their efface the tinsel of external advantages and where others betters try all they can to set themselves up above them, have the opportunity of coming in contact with us, they
generally find the means to establish a sufficiently marked and not by measure. We know all about the individuals, degree of degrading equality. No man is a hero to his valet- | their sentiments, history, manners, words, actions, every. de-chambre, is an old maxim.
thing: but we know all these too much as facts, as inveter. Women, according to Mrs. Peachum, are “bitter bad ate, habitual impressions, as clothed with too many associajudges" of the characters of men; and men are not much tions, as sanctified with too many affections, as woven too better of theirs, if we can form any guess from their choice much into the web of our hearts, to be able to pick out the in marriage. Love is proverbially blind. The whole is an different threads, to cast up the items of the debtor and affair of whim and fancy. Certain it is, that the greatest creditor account, or to refer them to any general standard favourites with the other sex are not those who are most of right and wrong. Our impressions with respect to them liked or respected among their own. I never knew but are too strong, too real, too much sui generis, to be capable one clever man who was what is called a lady's man; and of a comparison with anything but themselves. We hardly he (unfortunately for the argument) bappened to be a con. | inquire whether those for whom we are thus interested, and siderable coxcomb. It was by this irresistible quality, and to whom we are thus knit, are better or worse than othersnot by the force of his genius, that he vanquished. Women the question is a kind of profanation--all we know is, they seem to doubt their own judgments in love, and to take the are more to us than any one else can be. Our sentiments of opinion which a man entertains of his own prowess and ac this kind are rooted and grow in us, and we cannot eradicate complishments for granted. The wives of poets are (for the them by voluntary means. Besides, our judgments are bemost part) mere pieces of furniture in the room. If you spoke, our interests take part with our blood. If any doubt speak to them of their husbands' talents or reputation in the arises, if the veil of our implicit confidence is drawn aside world, it is as if you made mention of some office that they | by any accident for a moment, the shock is too great, like held. It can hardly be otherwise, when the instant any sub-that of a dislocated limb, and we recoil on our habitual imject is started or conversation arises, in which men take an pressions again. Let not that veil ever be rent entirely interest, or try one another's strength, the women leave the asunder, so that those images may be left bare of reverential room, or attend to something else. The qualities then in awe, and lose their religion : for nothing can ever support which men are ambitious to excel, and which ensure the the desolation of the heart afterwards ! applause of the world, eloquence, genius, learning, integrity, The greatest misfortune that can happen among relations are not those which gain the favour of the fair. I must not is a different way of bringing up, so as to set one another's deny, however, that wit and courage have this effect. Nei- opinions and characters in an entirely new point of view. ther is youth or beauty the sole passport of their affections. This often lets in an unwelcome daylight on the subject, “ The way of woman's will is hard to know,
and breeds schisms, coldness, and incurable heart-burnings Harder to hit."
in families. I have sometimes thought whether the pro
gress of society and march of knowledge does not do more Yet there is some clue to this mystery, some determining harm in this respect, by loosening the ties of domestic atcause ; for we find that the same men are universal favour- tachment, and preventing those who are most interested in, ites with women, as others are uniformly disliked by them. and anxious to think well of one another, from feeling a Is not the load-stone that attracts so powerfully, and in all cordial sympathy and approbation of each other's sentiments, circumstances, a strong and undisguised bias towards them, manners, views, etc. than it does good by any real advantage a marked attention, a conscious preference of them to every to the community at large. The son, for instance, is brought other passing object or topic? I am not sure, but I incline up to the church, and nothing can exceed the pride and to think so. The successful lover is the cavalier servente pleasure the father takes in him, while all goes on well in of all nations. The man of gallantry behaves as if he had this favourite direction. His notions change, and he imbibes made an assignation with every woman he addresses. An ' a taste for the fine arts. From this moment there is an end argument immediately draws off the scholar's attention from of anything like the same unreserved communication be. the prettiest woman in the room. He accordingly succeeds tween them. The young man may talk with enthusiasm of better in argument—than in love !—I do not think that what his “Rembrandts, Correggios, and stuff." it is all Hebrero is called love at first sight is so great an absurdity as it is to the elder; and whatever satisfaction he may feel in hearsometimes imagined to be. We generally make up our ing of his son's progress, or good wishes for his success, he minds beforehand to the sort of person we should like, grave is never reconciled to the new pursuit, he still hankers after or gay, black, brown, or fair ; with golden tresses or with the first object that he had set his mind upon. Again, the raven locks ;-and when we meet with a complete exam- grandfather is a Calvinist, who never gets the better of his ple of the qualities we admire, the bargain is soon struck. disappointment at his son's going over to the Unitarian side We have never seen anything to come up to our newly dis- of the question. The matier rests here, till the grandson, covered goddess before, but she is what we have been all some years after, in the fashion of the day and " infinite our lives looking for. The idol we fall down and worship agitation of men's wit,” comes to doubt certain points in the is an image familiar to our minds. It has been present to creed in which he has been brought up, and the affair is all our waking thoughts, it has haunted us in our dreams, like abroad again. Here are three generations made uncomsome fairy vision. Oh! thou, who, the first time I ever be- fortable and in a manner set at variance, by a veering point held thee, didst draw my soul into the circle of thy heavenly of theology, and the officious meddling of biblical critics! looks, and wave enchantment round me, do not think thy Nothing, on the other hand, can be more wretched or comconquest less complete because it was instantaneous ; formon than that upstart pride and insolent good fortune which in that gentle form (as if another Imogen had entered) I saw is ashamed of its origin; nor are there many things more all that I had ever loved of female grace, modesty, and awkward than the situation of rich and poor relations. Hapsweetness!
py, much happier, are those tribes and people who are conI cannot say much of friendship as giving an insight into fined to the same caste and way of life from sire to son, character, because it is often found on mutual infirmities | where prejudices are transmitted like instincts, and where and prejudices. Friendships are frequently taken up on some the same unvarying standard of opinion and refinement sudden sympathy, and we see only as much as we please of blend countless generations in its improgressive, everlasting one another's characters afterwards. Intimate friends are mould ! not fair witnesses to character, any more than professed Not only is there a wilful and habitual blindness in near enemies. They cool, indeed, in time-part, and retain only kindred to each other's defects, but an incapacity to judge a rankling judge at past errors and oversights. Their testi- from the quantity of materials from the contradictoriness of mony in the latter case is not quite free from suspicion. the evidence. The chain of particulars is too long and
One would think that near relations, who live constantly massy for us to lift it or put it into the most approved ethical together, and always have done so, must be pretty well ac. scales. The concrete result does not answer to any abstract quainted with one another's character. They are nearly in theory, to any logical definition. There is black and white the dark about it. Familiarity confounds all traits of dis. and grey, square and round—there are too many anomalies, tinction: interest and prejudice take away the power of too many redeeming points in poor human nature, such as judging. We have no opinion on the subject, any more it actually is, for us to arrive at a smart, summary decision than of one another's faces. The Penates, the household. on it. We know too much to come to any hasty or partial gods, are veiled. We do not see the features of those we conclusion. We do not pronounce upon the present act, love, nor do we clearly discern their virtues or their vices. because a hundred others rise up to contradict it. We sus. We take them as they are found in the lump:-by weight, l'pend our judgments altogether, because in effect one thing
unconsciously balances another; and perhaps this obstinate, his powers, and great by design. Perhaps his tenaciousness, pertinacious indecision would be the truest philosophy in on the score of his own merit, might arise from an early other cases, where we dispose of the question of characterbabit of polemical writing, in which his pretensions were easily, because we have only the smallest part of the evi-i continually called to the bar of prejudice and party-spirit, dence to decide upon. Real character is not one thing, but and he had to plead not guilty to the indictment. Some a thousand things; actual qualities do not conform to any | men have died unconscious of immortality; as others have factitious standard in the mind, but rest upon their own almost exhausted the sense of it in their life-time. Correggio truth and nature. The dull stupor under which we labour might be mentioned as an instance of the one, Voltaire of in respect of those whom we have the greatest opportunities the other. of inspecting nearly, we should do well to imitate, before we There is nothing that helps a man in his conduct through give extreme and uncharitable verdicts against those whom life more than a knowledge of his own characteristic weak. we only see in passing, or at a distance. If we knew them nesses (which guarded against, become his strength,) as better, we should be disposed to say less about them. there is nothing that tends more to the success of a man's
A gentleman, I recollect, once asked me whether I | talents than his knowing the limits of his faculties, which thought that the different members of a family really liked are thus concentrated on some practicable object. One one another so well, or had so much attachment as was man can do but one thing. Universal pretensions end in generally supposed; and I said that I conceived the regard | nothing. Or, as Butler has it, too much wit requires they had towards each other was expressed by the word interest, rather than by any other; which he said was the
"As much again to govern it.” true answer. I do not know that I could mend it now. There are those who have gone (for want of this selfNatural affection is not pleasure in one another's company, knowledge) strangely out of their way, and others who have nor admiration of one another's qualities; but it is an inti. never found it. We find many who succeed in certain demate and deep knowledge of the things that affect those, partinents, and are yet melancholy and dissatisfied, because whom we are bound by the nearest ties, with pleasure or they failed in the one to which they first devoted themselves, with pain ; it is an anxious, uneasy fellow-feeling with them, like discarded lovers who pine after their scornful mistress. a jealous watchfulness over their good name, a tender and I will conclude with observing, that authors in general over. unconquerable yearning for their good. The love, in short, || rate the extent and value of posthumous fame: for what (as we bear them, is the nearest to that we bear ourselves. l it has been asked) is the amount even of Shakspeare's fame? Home, according to the old saying is home, be it never so That in that very country which boasts his genius and his homely. We love ourselves, not according to our deserts, birth, perhaps scarce one person in ten has ever heard of but our cravings after good : so we love our immediate re- his name, or read a syllable of his writings ! lations in the next degree (if not even sometimes in a higher one) because we know best what they have suffered and what sits nearest to their hearts. We are implicated, in fact,
WE join in genius worship wherever we find it, and in their welfare by habit and sympathy, as we are in our this, from an anonymous correspondent, is hearty and well own.
done. If our devotion to our own interests is much the same as
TO JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. to theirs, we are ignorant of our own characters for the same
I have never seen thy face. reason. We are parties too much concerned to return a
I know not thy dwelling-place. fair verdict, and are too much in the secret of our own mo.
But I deem that it may be tives or situation not to be able to give a favourable turn to
Where the blue and boundless sea, our actions. We exercise a liberal criticism upon ourselves,
And the rivers and the rills and put off the final decision to a late day. The field is
Of New England's many hills large and open. Hamlet exclaims, with a noble magna
Mingle : thou hast seen, I know,
Ocean rise, and river flow. nimity, “I count myself indifferent honest, and yet I could accuse me of such things !" If you could prove to a man
Man, among the wondrous few,
To life's higher purpose true, that he is a knave, it would not make much difference in his opinion; his self-love is stronger than his love of virtue.
The pure faith within thy heart
Shall make others as thou art ! Hypocrisy is generally used as a mask to deceive the world,
Truly, Poet, in thy youth, not to impose on ourselves : for once detect the delinquent
Hast thou learned the unseen truthin his knavery, and he laughs in your face or glories in his
Stranger than a mystic scroll, inquity. This at least happens, except where there is a con
Secrets of the human soul ! tradiction in the character, and our vices are involuntary
Since the sun hath lit the earth, and at variance with our convictions. One great difficulty
Days of sorrow and of mirthis to distinguish ostensible motives, or such as we acknow.
Varied years have flown and fledledge to ourselves, from the tacit or secret springs of action.
What is written of the dead ? A man changes his opinion readily, he thinks it candour: it
One was famed for deeds in war, is levity of mind. For the most part, we are stunned and
Others learned in human law,
Art created, doth belong stupid in judging of ourselves. We are callous by custom
To one, and to another, song! to our defects or excellences, unless where vanity steps in to exaggerate or extenuate them. I cannot conceive how
Since the heathen days of old, it is that people are in love with their own persons or aston
Triumphs have been sung and told
And the tale of deeds sublime ished at their own performances, which are but a nine days'
Hath been handed down with time. wonder to every one else. In general it may be laid down
Men have kept, in cherished song, that we are liable to this twofold mistake in judging of our
Memory of the good and strong. own talents: we, in the first place, nurse the rickety bant
For, like fixed stars in the sky, ling, we think much of that which has cost us much pains
Are the words that will not die ! and labour, and which goes against the grain ; and we also
Earth hath changed, and men are now, set little store by what we do with most ease to ourselves,
Workmen, with another vow; and therefore best. The works of the greatest genius are
But the olden law of fame produced almost unconsciously, with an ignorance on the
Stands and lives and is the same. part of the persons themselves that they have done anything
Hero-worship liveth stillextraordinary. Nature has done it for them. How little
Men revere the sage's will-
above, Shakspeare seems to have thought of himself or of his
Is the Poet's fame and love! fame? Yet, if “ to know another well, were to know one's self," he must have been acquainted with his own preten.
Poet, of the purest pen! sions and character, “ who knew all qualities with a learned
Words of thine have moved stern men !
Half the glory of our land spirit.” His eye seems never to have been bent upon him.
Resieth now in thy right handself, but outwards upon nature. A man who thinks highly
The old nations o'er the sea, of himself, may almost set it down that it is without reason.
Shall revere us now, for thee ! Milton, notwithstanding, appears to have had a high opinion
Thou hast bought thyself a nameof himself, and to have made it good. He was conscious of
Guard thyself, and guard thy fame!