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Dequincey informs us that this gifted man lived uneasily and died before reaching a good old age, by reason of a "most exquisite and morbid delicacy of nervous temperament:" and this he would have had him counteract by uninterrupted composition! Doubtless his hypochondria was brought on, as the malady has been brought on in numberless other cases, by excessive mental exertion. He was over-wrought by his two kinds of work, that of his profession and literature, pursued as he pursued them but to have withdrawn the one and doubled the other, with a large infusion of anxiety over and above, would not have made him easier as a man, or more effective as an author.
Are not men apt to deceive themselves, when they fancy how much more they should have done but for some external hindrance? Surely original power and composing energy are no perennia! fountain that will flow on as long as ever vent is given to it; else why do so many authors cease to write well before they cease to write? This is of the highest importance, that men should be able to write genially while their intellect is in its prime; should then be free to choose the worthiest vehicle for their peculiar powers,
and finally array
Their temple with the Muses' diadem.
Literature draws its life from all that enlivens and invigorates the man; and whatever the wearied Herder may have said, in his playful mood, "to be shut up in a fortress," or confined to a study, is not the best preparation for writing well; they who enter on the arena of public labor become, in some respects, better qualified. Little intellectual benefit, indeed, is to be gained from work, which " "any stout man might do for a guinea a day.". Must we account Herder's work in the ministry, with its collateral business, as of that sort? The "wearied and preoccupied mind" is indeed an objection to Mr. C.'s plan, without being a recommendation of that which is set up against it. The state of our social economy renders every man's trade or business so exigent and engrossing as to leave him very little time or energy for any other pursuit; and this over-civilization operates against cultivation.* Literature -any extensive pursuit of it,-whether carried on as a profession, or in addition to another,―must be a straggle in England at the present time; money, or possesses little !" Mr. Dequincey's "indifference to money matters," in his treatment of the present question, lifts him far out of sight of Mr. Coleridge's practical view-quite into the clouds, I fancy.
Mr. Coleridge says in the Church and State, p. 52, that "a nation can never become a too cultivated, but may easily become an over-civilid
and except where there is a strong mind in almost Herculean body,-a constitution like that of a Centaur,-it is apt to wear out both before their time.
One word more. To some spirits, perhaps, in their superfluity of strength and gladness, the risk of starvation may act as a stimulant ; but was Mr. Coleridge in error when he intimated, that to the greater number of sensitive men-and men of genius are generally such-it acts as a narcotic? Mr. Carlyle's account of Jean Paul Richter's struggles with poverty is highly affecting and interesting. He almost puts a new spirit into the feeble mind, while he describes how this strong man of letters had "looked desperation full in the face, and found that for him she was not desperate;" how "his strength both of thought and resolve did but increase," while he was "sorely pressed on from without," and "establish itself on a surer and surer foundation;" how he “stood like a rock, amid the beating of continual tempests; nay, a rock crowned with foliage; and, in its clefts, nourishing flowers of sweetest perfume." Very effective is his contrast of such a character, whose "better soul, from the depths of sorrow and abasement, rose purified and invincible, like Hercules from his long labors," with those who have passed through as hard a probation," and "borne permanent traces of its good and evil influences; some, with their modesty and quiet endurance, combining a sickly dispiritment; others, a hardened dulness or deadness of heart; others, again, whom misery itself cannot teach, but only exasperate; who, far from parting with the mirror of their vanity, when it is trodden in pieces, rather collect the hundred fragments of it, and with more fondness and more bitterness than ever, behold not one but a hundred images of self therein."
But, after dwelling upon this representation, I conclude upon two things: first, that if Jean Paul, in Germany; sixty years ago, was "often in danger of starving," in England, at this present time, a man of his genius, who had to live entirely by his wits, would starve outright, or live very miserably. He says himself, concerning authors, "the sprig of laurel, like the lemon in the mouth of the wild boar, is not put into ours until we are shot and dished up." He would have been dished up in this country," the finest in the world, if a man could only live in it!"-long before he had written sixty volumes in a vein so peculiar as those by which he finally attained independence in his own land,—and perhaps have missed the laure! too. Compare his writings with those of any one of our popular novelists. If thought of the deeper sort, abundant fancy, and various learning, go for weight in the scale, would not any one of them kick the beam instantly, if weighed against his ?*
This is not meant as a comparison of merits, but only of the more
Secondly, I imagine that "the massive portly cynic" had no small force of body to under-prop and sustain this "giant force within" more at least than the majority of “myriad-minded men," whose corporeal energies are seldom to be computed by the same arithmetic as their mental ones. I imagine that he was at least a far better Centaur than S. T. C.* Such a man might sport for a while, in the hey-day of life, with "poverty, pain, and all evil, as with bright-spotted wild beasts which he had tamed and harnessed;" but weaker-bodied men would perish by their fangs in the midst of the process; he might travel through "a parched Sahara,” "without losing heart or even good humor;" but to one of more delicate frame "the stern sandy solitude" would soon have yielded only a grave.† Men of letters and literary genius are too often what is styled, in trivial irony, "fine gentlemen spoilt in the making." They care not for show and grandeur in what surrounds them, having enough within, beside "the pomp of groves and garniture of fields," and super-regal array of likes at their feet, when they go forth into outward nature; but they are fine gentlemen in all that concerns ease and pleasurable, or at least comfortable, sensation. How can they live hard and sparingly who are relaxed and languid from muscular inaction; exhausted by incessant activity of brain; rendered sensitive, and therefore, in some sort, luxurious, by refinement of thought and vividness of imagination? "Indifference to money matters," in men of genius, is for the most part more gentlemanly than wise: say rather downright incoherency and madness.
It is a noble doctrine that teaches how slight a thing is Poverty; what riches, nay treasures untold a man may possess in the midst of it, if he does but seek them aright; how much of the fiend's apparent bulk is but a fog-vapor of the sickly and sophisticated mind. It is a noble endeavor that would bring men to tread the fear of this phantom under their firm feet, and "dare to be poor!" Herein I see an analogy be
recondite merits with those which it requires less intellectual refinement to appreciate. I conjecture, that the German public are more cultivated, intellectually at least, than the English: I do not say, upon the whole, better educated, or as highly polished and civilized.
* Both, however, died at about the same age, a few months before completing their 63d year. Richter was born March 21, 1763, died November 14, 1825. My Father was between nine and ten years younger, and lived six weeks longer.
t "And mighty Poets in their misery dead." Resolution and IndependSt. 17, 1. 4.
At least in the sense of being unable to "keep a gig." I am glad that the last Quarterly notices with approbation "a manly cheerful tone
tween the teaching of a mighty Poet,-him who wrote of "the Leech Gatherer on the lonely moor,"--and the writings of Thomas Carlyle. I see a similarity of spirit between them, inasmuch as both show how great a thing is man in his own original greatness, such as God made him and enabled him to become by his own energies, independently of all aid except from above; how noble he is in his plain native dignity, the net. work veil of social fictions and formalities, which "the dreary intercourse of daily life" spins out, being taken from before his face. And in this theme the one has illuminated with the glories of the poetic imagination, the other with the lambent many-colored flame of wit and humor, and a playful yet powerful eloquence, teeming with bright fancies, like a river which foams and flashes and sparkles in the sunshine, while it flows onward with a strong and steady current. Nevertheless when we have blown into thin air and transparency whatever is unsubstantial in this object of dread, still Poverty, or an insufficiency of the external means of ease and enjoyment according to our actual condition, must ever remain one of life's greatest evils; if it be not the greatest of all those which we do not create by any acts of our own will, yet surely none is greater, seeing that it too often brings in its train all the rest-"cold, pain, labor,” with unrelieved and unprevented sickness, and want or loss of lively joyous warm affection, that scatters flowers and sunshine on the path of life. It presses hard upon the body, and both directly and indirectly it presses hard upon the mind. Richter, with all his superabundant energy, got rid of it as soon as possible, and no man who had not keenly felt how it can embitter and impoverish even a brave man's life could have written as he has done in his history of Siebenkäse, the Advocate of the Poor. Indeed the thorns of this piece may be felt ;-the fruit and flowers we can see and admire, but scarcely seem to taste them or inhale their living odors. S. C.
Note P., 343.
Trois Lettres à Mr. Remond de Mon-Mort. 1741 (opp. ed. Erdmann Berol. 1840. P. II., pp. 701–2). “Outre que j'ai eu soin de tout diriger à l'édification, j'ai tâché de déterrer et de réunir la vérité ensévelie et dissipée sous les opinions des différentes Sectes des Philosophes; et je crois y avoir ajouté quelque chose du mien pour faire quelques pas en avant."
I suppose that most philosophers attempt to traverse the ground cf all foregoing philosophies, and flatter themselves that they make quelques
in some remarks on the improved condition of literary laborers" in Mr. Burton's Memoirs of David Hume, and is able to add :-" the fact of the general improvement on which he dwells cannot be doubted."
pas en avant, while the unphilosophic insist upon it, that they do but move in a circle—that there is among them vertigo quædam et agitatio perpetua el circulus,--and the anti-philosophic poet is of opinion, that
never yet did philosophic tube
That bring the planets home into the eye
Of observation, and discovers, else
Not visible, his family of worlds,
After the sentence quoted verbatim by Mr. C. the letter proceeds thus. "Les Formalistes comme les Plátoniciens et les Aristotéliciens ont raison de chercher la source des choses dans les causes finales et formelles. Mais ils ont tort de négliger les efficientes et les matérielles, et d'en inferer, comme faisoit Mr. Henri Morus en Angleterre, et quelques autres Platoniciens, qu'il y a des Phénomènes qui ne peuvent être expliqués mécaniquement. Mais de l'autre côté les Matérialistes, ou ceux qui s'attachent uniquement à la Philosophie mécanique, ont tort de rejeter les considérations métaphysiques, et de vouloir tout expliquer par ce qui dépend de l'imagination."
"Je me flatte d'avoir pénétré l'Harmonie des differens règnes, et d'avoir vu que les deux partis ont raison, pourvu qu'ils ne se choquent point; que tout ce fait mécaniquement et métaphysiquement en même tems dans les phénomènes de la nature, mais que la source de la mecanique est dans la metaphysique. Il n'étoit pas aise de découvrir ce mystère, par ce qu'il y a peu de gens qui se donnent la peine de joindre ces deux sortes d'études." I have often thought that probably there is much one-sided reasoning and halving of truth amongst us at this day, because the men who are mathematical are not deeply and systematically metaphysical, and vice versa; those who are given to philosophical studies are not minutely acquainted with the history and present state of the Christian religion; while the great patricians and theologians have not been regularly trained and disciplined in metaphysical science, do not appear to have patiently examined what a large portion of the students would hold undoubtedly to be discoveries in that direction. They hear persons who have travelled in Germany, but never set foot in the region of German met physics, or inhaled one breath of its thin atmosphere, maintain that this science makes no real permanent advances,-that what one man builds up another pulls down, to erect his own equally unstable edifice in its place. Judging of the matter from without, and hearing only censure and contention instead of consent and approbation, they are not aware how large a part of his immediate predecessor's opinions the successor quietly assumes.
It is strange, however, that they should be ignorant of