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and reason above themselves; for then the soul, beginning to be freed from the ligaments of the body, begins to reason like herself, and to discourse in a strain above mortality.
We term sleep a death, and yet it is waking that kills us and destroys those spirits that are the house of life. It is indeed a part of life that best expresseth death; for every man truly lives, so long as he acts his nature, or some way makes good the faculties of himself: Themistocles, therefore, that slew his soldier in his sleep, was a merciful executioner; it is a kind of punishment the mildness of no laws hath invented; I wonder the fancy of Lucan and Seneca did not discover it. It is that death by which we may be literally said to die daily; a death which Adam died before his mortality; a death whereby we live a middle and moderating point between life and death; in fine, so like death, I dare not trust it without my prayers, and a half adieu unto the world, and take my farewell in a colloquy with God.
The night is come, like to the day;
These are my drowsy days; in vain
It is onze
God the in
This is the dormitive I take to bedward; I need no other laudanum than this to make me sleep: after which, I close mine eyes in security, content to take my leave of the sun, and sleep unto the Resurrection.
The method I should use in distributive justice I often observe in commutative, and keep a geometrical proportion in both, whereby becoming equable to others, I become unjust to myself, and supererogate in that common principle, “Do unto others as thou wouldst be done unto thyself.” I was not born unto riches, neither is it, I think, my star to be wealthy; or if it were, the freedom of my mind and frankness of my disposition were able to contradict and cross my fates. For to me avarice seems not so much a vice as a deplorable piece of madness; to be persuaded that we are dead is not so ridiculous or so many degrees beyond the power of hellebore as this. The opinions of theory and positions of men are not so void of reason as their practiced conclusions: some have held that snow is black, that the earth moves, that the soul is air, fire, water; but all this is philosophy, and there is no delirium if we do but speculate the folly and indisputable dotage of avarice. To that subterraneous idol, and god of the earth, I do confess I am an atheist; I cannot persuade myself to honor what the world adores; whatsoever virtue its prepared substance may have within my body, it hath no inAuence or operation without; I would not entertain a base design, or an action that should call me villain, for the Indies; and for this only do I love and honor my own soul, and have, methinks, two arms too few to embrace myself. Aristotle is too severe, that will not allow us to be truly liberal without wealth and the bountiful hand of fortune; if this be true, I must confess I am charitable only in my liberal intentions and bountiful well-wishes. But if the example of the mite be not only an act of wonder, but an example of the noblest charity, surely poor men may also build hospitals, and the rich alone have not erected cathedrals. I have a private method which others observe not; I take the opportunity of myself to do good; I borrow occasion of charity from mine own necessities, and supply
the wants of others when I am in most need myself; for it is an honest stratagem to make advantage of ourselves, and so to husband the acts of virtue, that where they were defective in one circumstance they may repay their want and multiply their goodness in another. I have not Peru in my desires, but a competence and ability to perform those good works to which he hath inclined my nature. He is rich who hath enough to be charitable; and it is hard to be so poor that a noble mind may not find a way to this piece of goodness. He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord; there is more rhetoric in that one sentence than in a library of sermons; and, indeed, if those sentences were understood by the reader with the same emphasis as they are delivered by the author, we needed not those volumes of instructions, but might be honest by an epitome. Upon this motive only I cannot behold a beggar without relieving his necessities with my purse, or his soul with my prayers; these scenical and accidental differences between us cannot make me forget that common and untouched part of us both; there is un. der these centoes and miserable outsides, these mutilate and semibodies, a soul of the same alloy with our own, whose genealogy is God's as well as ours, and is as fair a way to salvation as ourselves. Statists that labor to contrive a commonwealth without poverty take away the object of our charity, not understanding only the commonwealth of a Christian, but forgetting the prophecy of Christ.
Now there is another part of charity, which is the basis and pillar of this, and that is the love of God, for whom we love our neighbor; for this I think charity, to love God for himself, and our neighbor for God. All that is truly amiable is God, or, as it were, a divided piece of him, that retains a reflex or shadow of himself. Nor is it strange that we should place affection on that which is invisible; all that we truly love is thus; what we adore under affection of our senses deserves not the honor of so pure a title. Thus we adore virtue, though to the eyes of sense she be invisible: thus that part of our noble friends that we love is not that part that we embrace, but that insensible part that our arms cannot embrace. God, being all goodness, can love nothing but himself, and the traduction of his Holy Spirit. Let us call to assize the loves of our parents, the affection of our wives and children, and they are all dumb shows and dreams without reality, truth, or constancy: for first, there is a strong bond of affection between us and our parents; yet how easily dissolved! We betake ourselves to a woman, forget our mother in a wife, and the womb that bare us in that that shall bear our image: this woman blessing us with children, our affection leaves the level it held before, and sinks from our bed unto our issue and picture of posterity, where affection holds no steady mansion. They, growing up in years, desire our ends; or applying themselves to a woman, take a lawful way to love another better than ourselves. Thus I perceive a man may be buried alive, and behold his grave in his own issue.
I conclude therefore and say there is no happiness under (or as Copernicus will have it, above) the sun, nor any crambe in that repeated verity and burthen of all the wisdom of Solomon, « All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” There is no felicity in that the world adores. Aristotle, whilst he labors to refute the ideas of Plato, falls upon one himself; for his summum bonum is a chimera, and there is no such thing as his felicity. That wherein God himself is happy, the holy angels are happy, in whose defect the devils are unhappy; that dare I call happiness: whatsoever conduceth unto this may with an easy metaphor deserve the name; whatsoever else the world terms happiness is to me a story out of Pliny, a tale of Boccaccio or Malaspini; an apparition or neat delusion, wherein there is no more of happiness than the name. Bless me in this life with but peace of my conscience, command of my affections, the love of thyself and my dearest friends, and I shall be happy enough to pity Cæsar.
These are, O Lord, the humble desires of my most reasonable ambition, and all I dare call happiness on earth; wherein I set no rule or limit to thy hand of Providence; dispose of me according to the wisdom of thy pleasure. Thy will be done, though in my own undoing.
Complete. From the text of Morley.
BROWNING wrote few essays, and the prose style he illustrates
in them is anything but commendable, abounding, as it does, La in inversions and parenthetical clauses which compel the reader to hard thinking. But these are the faults of genius, -shortcomings resulting from a lack of the patience necessary to find for an intellect of supreme activity a mode to express itself adequately. If Browning's sentences are gnarled, they have that which justifies their ruggedness — thought so profound and yet so strong, that language is scarcely fit for the attempt to express it. Browning does express it however. Every sentence, every clause, every word of his prose has in it some suggestion of that deep intellectual and spiritual experience in which he so far transcended ordinary human nature.
He was born at Camberwell, England, May 7th, 1812, and was educated at London University. In 1846 he married Elizabeth Barrett, who was greatly his superior in the faculty of lyrical expression; but if he wrote nothing as musical as her best lyrics, he greatly surpassed her and every other poet of his generation in depth of thought. Much of his life was spent in Italy, and it was at Venice that he died, December 12th, 1889.
SHELLEY'S SPIRITUAL LIFE
I JAD Shelley lived he would have finally ranged himself with H the Christians; his very instinct for helping the weaker
side (if numbers make strength), his very hate of hate,” which at first mistranslated itself into delirious Queen Mab notes and the like, would have got clearer sighted by exercise. The preliminary step to following Christ is the leaving the dead to bury their dead — not clamoring on his doctrine for an especial solution of difficulties which are referable to the general problem of the universe. Already he had attained to a profession of “a worship to the Spirit of Good within, which requires (before it sends that inspiration forth, which impresses its likeness upon all