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gery it was not filled with imagery, but with reasonings laid up by constant meditation, and with which his memory always supplied him when called for. He never gazed upon visions, but argued to himself upon that with which experience and reading had furnished his recollection. Peruse his two celebrated satires-they have nothing of the higher ingredients of poetry in them; no poetical imagery is to be found there; they are the spiritual reflections or declamations of a moral philosopher, tinged with a deep melancholy, and plaintive from a sense of the sufferings, frailties, and imperfections of humanity. They have no invention, no enthusiasm, none of those enchanting illusions by which our human existence is exalted into a higher sphere. It was wrong of him to endeavor to tear away these delights from others because he could not enjoy them himself.


Thus he treated the memory of his friend William Collins, with which I was shocked and disgusted, when his "Lives of the Poets" came out, and for which I could never afterward forgive him. that Life, while he speaks of the poet personally with kindness and sensibility, he shows a wanton absence of taste and imaginative feeling, and an ignorance or denial of the primary ingredients of poetry.


He who is willing to enjoy the present moment, then to die, and leave no trace of his existence behind him, may do so if he can reconcile it to his own self-complacence. But it does not seem to be the sort of self-complacence which distinguishes human nature from brutes. We are taught to aspire, and to endeavor to make wings to rise above oblivion, when our bodies moulder in the grave. But it will be observed how few can do this with success. Is it, then, to be our fate to be tormented with a desire of what so few are formed by nature to attain? But in proportion as the inborn faculties are narrow, the desires are probably limited to narrow objects and narrow means. Every one flatters himself that he can carve out for himself some ground of distinction. We must keep our mind in constant advance, by a progressive attention to those objects and means. To rest upon our oars, and work only at long intervals, will not do.

Some think that genius will equally show itself in sunshine or in shade, and therefore that unpropitious circumstances will not account for mediocrity of merit. The lives of unfortunate men of genius do not justify this opinion, nor does reason justify it. Mental energy is partly generated by animal spirits; and who that is discouraged and neglected can feel the same animal spirits?

All the advantages of education and art will do nothing without genius; and with how few, or rather without any of these, the

bright flame of real genius will come forth. Witness in our days Burns and Bloomfield. They have some advantages over those better instructed, because they have stronger hope. Many writers of verses have a powerful memory, without any imagination at all; and some have a fancy which reflects with the faithfulness of a mirror, but cannot invent. But nothing less than invention—and noble and tender invention-will make a poet of any high order. We may give to our characters the lovely sensibility and lofty thoughts which only exist in a few, and we may show the forms of humanity free from its blemishes and alloys; we may look on female beauty, and imagine that there dwells in it an angelic spirit; these are within the province of the truly inspired bard. But such notes are not reached except by the highly favored of heaven. Thousands have felt the dim visions within, but have not been able to embody them: they have gone to their graves dissatisfied with themselves, and unknown to the world.

Besides his numerous and admirable criticisms on English poets, Sir Egerton Brydges has himself written some of the finest sonnets in the language.


In eddying course when leaves began to fly,
And Autumn in her lap the store to strew,

As mid wild scenes I chanced the Muse to woo,
Through glens untrod, and woods that frown'd on high,
Two sleeping nymphs with wonder mute I spy!

And, lo, she's gone!-In robe of dark-green hue
'Twas Echo from her sister Silence flew,

For quick the hunter's horn resounded to the sky!
In shade affrighted Silence melts away.

Not so her sister.-Hark! for onward still,
With far-heard step, she takes her listening way,
Bounding from rock to rock, and hill to hill.
Ah, mark the merry maid in mockful play,
With thousand mimic tones the laughing forest fill!


Thou Maid of gentle light! thy straw-wove vest,
And russet cincture; thy loose pale-tinged hair;
Thy melancholy voice, and languid air,
As if, shut up within that pensive breast,
Some ne'er-to-be-divulged grief was prest;

"The great labors of Sir Egerton Brydges in the cause of English literature will be duly appreciated by posterity. For some years past, (1833,) he has resided at Geneva, where he still devotes himself to his favorite pursuits with an enthusiasm, which neither age nor sickness can subdue."--DYCE.

Thy looks resign'd, that smiles of patience wear,
While Winter's blasts thy scatter'd tresses tear;
Thee, Autumn, with divinest charms have blest!
Let blooming Spring with gaudy hopes delight

That dazzling Summer shall of her be born;
Let Summer blaze; and Winter's stormy train
Breathe awful music in the ear of Night;

Thee will I court, sweet dying Maid forlorn,
And from thy glance will catch the inspired strain.


ARCHIBALD ALISON was the son of Andrew Alison, of Edinburgh, and was matriculated at Baliol College, Oxford, in 1775. After completing his theological course of study, he was settled successively in two or three different parishes, and finally became the senior minister of St. Paul's Chapel, in his native city. In 1790, he published his admirable "Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste," the work for which he is most distinguished. In 1814, he gave to the public two volumes of sermons, justly admired for the elegance and beauty of their language, and their gently persuasive inculcation of Christian duty. He died at Edinburgh in the year 1838, at the advanced age of eighty-two.2


In every period of life, the acquisition of knowledge is one of the most pleasing employments of the human mind. But in youth, there are circumstances which make it productive of higher enjoyment. It is then that every thing has the charm of novelty; that curiosity and fancy are awake; and that the heart swells with the anticipations of future eminence and utility. Even in those lower branches of instruction which we call mere accomplishments, there is something always pleasing to the young in their acquisition. They seem to become every well-educated person; they adorn, if they do not dignify, humanity; and, what is far more, while they give an elegant employment to the hours of leisure and relaxation, they afford a means of contributing to the purity and innocence of domestic life.

In this he maintains, "that all beauty, or, at least, that all the beauty of material ob jects, depends on the associations that may have connected them with the ordinary affections or emotions of our nature; and in this, which is the fundamental part of his theory, we conceive him to be no less clearly right than he is convincing and judicious in the copious and beautiful illustrations by which he has sought to establish its truth." Read a most interesting article on "Beauty," in the "Encyclopædia Britannica," by Lord Jeffrey, vol. iv. 481.

Read an article on "Alison's Essays on Taste," in the Edinburgh Review," vol. xviii. 1; one on his "Sermons," vol. xxiii. 424; and another upon his "Sermons," in the "Quarterly Review," vol. xiv. 429.

But in the acquisition of knowledge of the higher kind-in the hours when the young gradually begin the study of the laws of nature, and of the faculties of the human mind, or of the magnificent revelations of the gospel-there is a pleasure of a sublimer nature. The cloud which, in their infant years, seemed to cover nature from their view, begins gradually to resolve. The world in which they are placed opens with all its wonders upon their eye; their powers of attention and observation seem to expand with the scene before them; and, while they see, for the first time, the immensity of the universe of God, and mark the majestic simplicity of those laws by which its operations are conducted, they feel as if they were awakened to a higher species of being, and admitted into nearer intercourse with the Author of Nature.

It is this period, accordingly, more than all others, that determines our hopes or fears of the future fate of the young. To feel no joy in such pursuits, to listen carelessly to the voice which brings such magnificent instruction, to see the vail raised which conceals the counsels of the Deity, and to show no emotion at the discovery, are symptoms of a weak and torpid spirit-of a mind unworthy of the advantages it possesses, and fitted only for the humility of sensual and ignoble pleasure. Of those, on the contrary, who distinguish themselves by the love of knowledge, who follow with ardor the career that is open to them, we are apt to form the most honorable presages. It is the character which is natural to youth, and which, therefore, promises well of their maturity. We foresee for them, at least, a life of pure and virtuous enjoyment, and we are willing to anticipate no common share of future usefulness and splendor.


In the second place, the pursuits of knowledge lead not only to happiness, but to honor. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left are riches and honor." It is honorable to excel even in the most trifling species of knowledge, in those which can amuse only the passing hour. It is more honorable to excel in those different branches of science which are connected with the liberal professions of life, and which tend so much to the dignity and wellbeing of humanity. It is the means of raising the most obscure to esteem and attention; it opens to the just ambition of youth some of the most distinguished and respected situations in society; and it places them there with the consoling reflection that it is to their own industry and labor, in the providence of God, that they are alone indebted for them. But to excel in the higher attainments of knowledge, to be distinguished in those greater pursuits which have commanded the attention and exhausted the abilities of the wise in every former age, is, perhaps, of all the distinctions of human understanding, the most honorable and grateful.

When we look back upon the great men who have gone before us

in every path of glory, we feel our eye turn from the career of war and ambition, and involuntarily rest upon those who have displayed the great truths of religion, who have investigated the laws of social welfare, or extended the sphere of human knowledge. These are honors, we feel, which have been gained without a crime, and which can be enjoyed without remorse. They are honors, also, which can never die—which can shed lustre even upon the humblest head— and to which the young of every succeeding age will look up, as their brightest incentives to the pursuit of virtuous fame.


It were unjust and ungrateful to conceive that the amusements of life are altogether forbid by its beneficent Author. They serve, on the contrary, important purposes in the economy of human life, and are destined to produce important effects both upon our happiness and character. They are, in the first place, in the language of the Psalmist, "the wells of the desert;" the kind resting-places in which toil may relax, in which the weary spirit may recover its tone, and where the desponding mind may resume its strength and its hopes.

It is not, therefore, the use of the innocent amusements of life which is dangerous, but the abuse of them; it is not when they are occasionally, but when they are constantly pursued; when the love of amusement degenerates into a passion; and when, from being an occasional indulgence, it becomes an habitual desire. What the consequences of this inordinate love of amusement are, I shall now endeavor very briefly to show you.

1. It tends to degrade all the powers of the understanding. It is the eternal law of nature, that truth and wisdom are the offspring of labor, of vigor, and perseverance in every worthy object of pursuit. The eminent stations of fame, accordingly, and the distinguished honors of knowledge, have, in every age, been the reward only of such early attainments, of that cherished elevation of mind which pursues only magnificent ends, and of that heroic fortitude which, whether in action or in speculation, pursues them by the means of undeviating exertion.

For the production of such a character, no discipline can be so unfit as that of the habitual love of amusement. It kindles not the eye of ambition, it bids the heart beat with no throb of generous admiration, it lets the soul be calm, while all the rest of our fellows are passing us in the road of virtue or of science. Satisfied with humble and momentary enjoyment, it aspires to no honor, no praise, no pre-eminence, and, contented with the idle gratification of the present hour, forgets alike what man has done and what man was born to do.

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