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My Lord Verulam, in his little acre of wisdom De Sapienta Veterum," has classed this boy as the "favorite;" but since
"Argus himself, so cautious and so wise,
Was fooled at last for all his hundred eyes," we may venture that my lord missed the mark a little in this instance, and looked at things through the fashions of his time. To us, at all events, Endymion is the representative lucky man. Yet hear what my lord saith:
"The shepherd, Endymion, is said to have been beloved by Luna, and the manner of their meetings was singular and extraordinary, for he was wont to sleep in a grotto near his native place, under the Latinian rocks; and Luna is said to have descended frequently from heaven, sought the embraces of her sleeping companion, and so returned again to heaven. Yet his indolence and sleep were no detriment to his fortunes: but Luna, in the meanwhile, took care that his herds should fatten and increase as prosperously as possible, so that no shepherd had more wellconditioned or more numerous flocks."
Could there be a clearer sketching
of the nature, or of the chief circumstances in the life of the lucky man?
Yet hear the rest:
"This fable appears to relate to the character and habitude of princes. Being full of cares and inclined to suspicion, they will not readily admit to their private familiarity men who are intelligent, curious, and of vigilant disposition; but rather men of a quiet and yielding nature, who submit to the will of their masters and inquire no further, exposing themselves as men unconcerned, unsearching, insensible, and, as it were, asleep; paying rather simple obedience than cunning ob servance to their masters. With such men as these, princes are accustomed to descend from their majesty, as the moon from her orbit, to lay aside their mask (the perpetual wearing of which becomes a sort of burden), and amuse themselves familiarly with them; imagining that they may do this in safety," etc., etc.
In the general idea, we might find no fault-for the favorite is of the same family, one development, indeed, of the lucky man-but it is forced into trivialities. It is stamped with the time when it was written as with a date-a time when royal favorites were fashionable.
We will thus find luck developing itself in every age, in some man peculiar to that age; in some man around whom, or around whose position, the fancy of the times clusters, by common consent, all that it deems desirable. Endymion is an instance: where the fable was conceived, the words, "I also am an Arcadian," conveyed the whole sum of bliss; and to lie prone upon the
grass, brighter (to borrow the brightest and freshest of figures from Dante) than newly-broken emeralds, while soft airs,
"That, blown about the foliage underneath, And sated with the innumerable rose, Beat balm against your eyelids ;" and to see afar off your white flocks enameled into the mead; or in the hot day to dream in a cool grot and there be visited by a goddess-this was the heaven of their old idea. This was an end that no man could compass by his own endeavor, nor any deserve by his good conduct or pure heart-and so they went away from reality into their fine imaginations and dreamed it, catching at it at once through a faith that some power unknown, for a cause also unknown, would stoop to their wishes: this was luck. Every one had a divine faith, that he, also, might be an Endymion, and, to an extent, the faith was rewarded; for every one enjoyed the that they had, or knew, or imagined of dream. Endymion had no more. All voluptuous pleasure, far separated from care and grief, grew around this name; and wherever it is to be found in the old poets, it is in a golden halo of delight, as if its mere mention, like the mystic syllables of the east, wrought them up to a seventh heaven of bliss.
Skipping the intermediate periodsfor the fancy of the reader will easily fill them-we come at once to the time when Bacon wrote, and find the same principle working in different forms upon the same material: it is the same human heart and the same mind, unsatisfied with everything but its dreams, bringing all easy indolence and voluptuous love of pleasure to gather around the place of the king's favorite. At that time, when the world ran to pageants and royal displays, magnificence of dress, splendid retinues, and all the paraphernalia of gorgeous courts, to be the proud heart of all, the richest of the rich, beloved of all ladies and cynosure of all eyes, was to be the Endymion of that day, and the luckiest man of the time.
Again a skip, and we return to our early friend, whom, for this present purpose, we may restore to a portion of his pristine right, and denominate Endymion Schenck. This is a time when it is impossible to find eyes so dull that there shall be no "speculation" in them. When men lie down with Lazarus, and
arise with the other fellow; but in a better place. When a small merchant with a smaller capital follows the star of a new time, and, with a sarsaparilla bottle in his hand as a present to the expected monarch, sits down like the ancient kings, and like them falls asleep, and, not dozing half so long, arises to find that bis bottle, without in any particular altering its shape, has grown to a hundred thousand dollar mansion. This is the time and Endymion Schenck is the man around whom all the ideas of the time gather. He is always successful-he was never known to fail-nor to have a care: he always knew he would be successful. From first to last, in the greatest and the least, victory sits upon his eagles. Call him what you will-Endymion, Piers Gaveston, or John Schenck-he is always the same lucky man.
But let us stop to inquire a little after the word. What idea does the word luck, call up to us? According to the common definitions, one of hap-chance, fortune, accident. Common definitions are seldom satisfactory. It is like picking up a sea-shell on the shore, and having our thought of it choked down with a long Latin name, when we want to go back and muse upon the particular fish that held his high court of life in the little round. "Like music." however, this present definition, is "bad or good, according as 'tis understood." Hapfortune, accident, may be ordinarily well enough; but that there is any pure chance expressed in the word luck, if admitted by the general use, is at least denied by the etymology. Perhaps it may be questioned, indeed, whether it be possible for human intellect to contemplate the idea of pure chance: but this is going too deep for our present purpose. We are mere pearl-divers in this depth of thought, and should be more frightened than pleased to meet any metaphysical monster of the deep. "Luck (good or bad) is the past tense and past participle of the Anglo-Saxon laccan, lac-gan, lac-cean, prehendere, apprehendere, to catch; and means (something, anything) caught. Instead of saying that a person has had good luck, it is not uncommon to say he has had a good catch." So quoth the "unique Horne." This is illustrated by the fisherman-his haul is his luck— not as it is an uncertainty; for there is but little of that necessarily understood
with the good fisherman who tells by his experience when the fish come in or down, and by his knowledge of their natures and habits, and by observation of the winds and tides, warmth or coldness of the water, threatening storms, etc., whether there will be any prevention, and only expects a good luck when all things are favoring. This gives point to that ancient part of wisdom in scraps: Diligence is the mother of good Luck-and that brings good luck to be of a better family than was commonly thought.
Thus, so far from there being any chance in luck, it will be seen that one's luck did depend, as much as a thing possibly could, upon his own endeavor. Luck was simply success, and that could only be understood as crowning labor. But the word has gone away from this use, and has come now to represent that part of things that we contemplated an instant ago in using the phrase "as much as a thing possibly could." There is, then, some degree in which the endeavor cannot regulate the result--and this degree, that goes between, is under the dominion of luck. That the same thing frequently thrives with one man and miscarries with another has always been observed - nor has it been seen that the successful man was the one of the greater ability or the closer application-but commonly the other way. 66 Certainly there be," says Bacon, again, "whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slide and easiness more than the verses of other poets." And when the Italians "speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into his other conditions, that he hath 'poco di matto,' and certainly there be not two more fortunate properties than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest." In this view, luck would seem to have been used as an equalizer, and to have been given to those who lacked such better things as brains. "Nature," says Hooker, "hath gifted some men with wisdom and understanding, and others with the art of playing the fiddle." Such men as have brains, ability, power-they who are either the flint or steel of human nature, and can strike out fire by contact-who can help themselves, seem to be left to themselves; but they who are neither of these-who are mere sticks in life—are tipped on the end with this little phosphorus of good luck : all
Midas, from turning all he touched to gold, may be the figuring of a lucky man; and then we must not forget what the wind so continually whispered: King Midas has the ears of an ass." How often has fine genius been cut to the quick by seeing the smooth Sunday citizens" of the world distance it in its dearest schemes! With what gusto does Schiller cry out: "Heaven and earth both fight in vain against a dunce!" When we get here it almost becomes explainable. Childe Harold has it that,
"Brisk confidence still best with woman
Fortune is a woman-and " have called her fickle." It is the confidence that is found so fully developed in the fool that "bids a gay defiance to mischance," and goes triumphantly through with everything. Fools seem to be lucky everywhere; for even the parenthesis-eyed Chinaman knows of it. "One has never so much need of his wit as when ho has to do with a fool." There is no such thing as putting the real fool where he will not thrive: "throw him into the Nile," say the Arabs," and he comes up with a fish in his mouth." Perhaps this idea of luck, that is half buried in the saying, "Lucky at play, unlucky in love," and some similar ones, may be explained upon a sufficiently general principle: the very qualities that would fit a man to be "lucky" (successful) at play are those that would unfit him to be so at the other-and the converse.
Lucky men finally do-and well may -have confidence in their destiny; but they must beware how they have too much in themselves, for "it is written that Timotheus the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the state of his government, often interlaced this speech, and in this fortune had no part,' never prospered in anything he undertook afterwards." VOL. IX.-42
There is often in the course of events a happy confluence of accidents bringing about results apparently quite incommensurate with the powers at work -and this, when associated in history with great names, makes a wonderful appearance. This goes so deeply into things that we can never attain a correct idea of either characters or circumstances without taking it into consideration. However great has been the confidence of man in his individual ability
his force of intellect to mould or direct circumstances to his will-but few have lived who have had the confidence to refer things to "me" alone-but they better qualify it with "we-and the lucky moment"-so fixing the luck to time, and making what the poets apostrophize as occasion-opportunity. "Oh, opportunity! thy crime is great:
'Tis thou that executest the traitor's treason, Thou puttest the wolf where he the lamb may get
Whoever plots the sin thou pointest the
And the more bequoted scrap:
"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to for tune."
This luck of time-of a particular day, date, hour or minute-has had superstition to help it, and has gone to such an extent that men have regulated their lives to it; and only commenced serious undertakings at a specified moment. This comes, no doubt, from the astrologers. The fate of families seems sometimes associated with a day-all the members being born, married, and dying only upon its recurrence. There is, perhaps, no spot upon the earth where the idea of the ill luck of Friday has not now, or has not had, its effect. We may say of this superstition to the whole world, as was said of love:
Qui que tu sois, voila ton maitreIl l'est, le fut, ou le doit être. This superstition originated, doubtless, in the day's being a holy one in the Gothic mythology-and the naturally sequential belief, that to undertake common affairs of life upon that day was sacrilege.
Luck itself seems to defy analysis; for if you have once obtained a sufficient hold upon to examine it-presto! it has changed its nature. When you have once fairly recognized it as 8 working principle in things (and until then you can scarcely examine it), it is
no longer luck; for the very essence of this common idea is eccentricity total irregularity-being outside of all rules. Thus, in daily calling Schenck a lucky man, and so accounting for his success, we recognize a working principle, and virtually declare that he is a notable exemplification of this idea of indirection that we express in the word chance. Yet, in containing this the thing defeats itself; for his luck presently amounts to regularity. There is no chance in his chances-no uncertainty. All who know him know that when he is into any description of scheme, where simple ability may not make success, nothing can be more certainly direct than indirection. One of the philosophical poets has called "all chance direction that thou canst not see;" and it must always be a mystery why this invisible direction has so strong a tendency toward Schenck. Yet, perhaps, as the gods laughed at Vulcan, "all chance" laughs at himand as the one laughter is defined to be "the exuberant energy of the gods proceeding joyously through the universe," the other may be a very merry though immaterial game of skittles, and Schenck the ball-in this particular instance, like the old Toxopholite's second bow, "more sure for to last than pleasant for to use." As nothing but truth came from Jove-though it was turned into opinion and falsehood by the phantasy of Agamemnon-so nothing but perfect regularity comes from this direction that thou canst not see;" but accidents incident to the nature of things create eccentricity. Still there is the same objection, that the " eccentricity" tends so to Schenck, and never to me. But then Schenck is of the earth, and earthy things grow around him: the weeds thrive where the flowers fail, for "the earth is the mother of the weeds, but only the step-mother of the flowers." "Old Montaigne" has done his share toward showing that luck is sometimes on the right side: that "fortune se rencontre souvent au train de la raison." He illustrates very well how " 'fortune brings in some ships that are not steered," though some of the stories he tells are like George the Third's cavalry charge down the Devil's Dyke: "Very steep, sir." The first is of a duke who would have poisoned a cardinal, and going to sup with him sent some poisoned wine before. The servant, not
in the secret, mistook the directions of particular carefulness to refer to the excellence of the wine, and when the duke, arriving tired and thirsty, called for wine, thought to please him by giving some of his own good drink. He died. When we remember that Shakespeare read Montaigne, it is not difficult to suppose that he may have arisen from the perusal of this circumstance with the speech in his mouth
"Thus even-handed Justice Commends our poisoned chalice to our lips."
Another is of the prevention of a crime. Iceter employed two soldiers to kill Timoleon, sojourning in Sicily. They chose the time while he was offering a sacrifice and mixed with the multitude. While they were waiting, a sword was suddenly driven through the neck of one and he fell dead. The other, supposing that they were discovered, fled to the altar, and, claiming its protection, promised to disclose all
and at once betrayed the conspiracy. He had scarcely finished speaking, when the one who had sent the sword through his companion was brought in and confessed to having committed the murder for an old quarrel. In a different vein entirely is that of the
Capitaine Rense assiegeant pour nous la ville d'Eronne." That worthy engineer was in a manner hoist by his own petard. He placed his mine very correctly, and blew the wall up with such power, suddenness, and precision, that it raised in one piece, and came down the same way, settling so exactly in its proper place that the besieged did not value it the less." Ahem! With this we may give the sensible admonition of Josephus : If any one think these things incredible, let him keep his opinions to himself."
A writer in the Dublin University Magazine--in an article not seen till this was thus far gone-in trying to resolve a question of the superstition of fortune-What is fortune?-brings together some definitions: "Lucan says, fortune is only another name for our own doings; somebody else that 'pluck is luck'; a third that luck is a word to be talked about, but that it is skill that leads to fortune; a fourth that every one is his own fortune-maker; and, finally, our grave friend, Juvenal, assures us, that fortune is but haphazard; that the true power is prudence,
although men persist in elevating the impostor to heaven, and there worshiping her as a divinity;" and elsewhere quotes a remark of Chatham, that Chance is but another name for an unaccountable nothing." And, turning this definition inside out, like a 66 cheveril glove," we may say that an unaccountable nothing is but another name for chance. There is nothing resolved; and the definitions merely shift the matter from one word to another. The prologue has yet to come that shall tell
us plainly that "the lion is no lion, but only Snug the joiner;" that the wonder is no wonder, but perhaps the inevitable result of a principle of adaptability that seems to pervade nature, and causes one man, who appears a fool in only knowing one thing, to yet thrive with that one thing, and be called lucky, because another of great ability and universal knowledge shall fail at that same simple thing-he failing, perhaps, for the very reason that he knew too much.
-THE beautiful blue and gold series of choice works, inaugurated last summer by Ticknor and Fields, of Boston, with the poems of Tennyson, is continued by Longfellow's works and Swain's poems, and the Characteristics of Women, and other works, by Mrs. Jameson. These are to be followed by Whittier, Leigh Hunt, Lowell, and others a pure belle-lettres series. The books are not only pretty, they are in the most convenient form for summer reading and travel; and the collection of Leigh Hunt's poems will be the first complete edition of one of the daintiest and most melodious of contemporary English writers the most characteristically Italian author out of Italy.
-Europe and America, by Adam de Gurowski (Appleton), is a book which deserves more than a magazine notice; for it is the profoundest and most comprehensive survey of America and Americans since de Tocqueville's work. It is, in truth, a more perceptive and philosophical treatise than de Tocqueville's; for, while the clear-eyed Frenchman is mainly interested in the consideration of the method and practicability of democratic organization, de Gurowski pierces and exposes the very genius of our character and civilization. We commend the work to the thoughtful study of every one of our readers who loves his country as a man and not as a partisan, and who believes in its good destiny, as a Christian. We are ourselves too much a part of the process; we live too closely inwound with
the whole operation of our institutions, fairly and philosophically to examine and determine their character and tendency; and while there have been plenty of eager tourists who made indignant notes that we spit, and chew, and drawl, and boast, and drink, there have been only a few who would not measure a new phenomenon by the canons of taste and tradition, but looked through the imperfection and the crudity to the principle. This is what de Gurowski has done. He says sharp things of us sharply; but he, also, says sweet and true things well. He does not spare our intolerable pusillanimity; but he sees that the faults are not essential defects. His feeling is as warm as his expression is vehement. He does not hesitate to illustrate a proposition with any name or instance; and the late president points a contemptuous paragraph. But this impetuous temperament of the observer does not vitiate the justice of the observation: it serves rather to enliven and vivify the description. Few foreigners have paid so high homage to America: and that it is a foreigner who does it is his own great praise. The mastery of the English language in the work is remarkable. It is not a clear style, but it is forcible, and copious, and even idiomatic. The scholarship, which the book displays and implies, is of a scope beyond our usual standard. The author is evidently a man familiar with histories and literatures. We consider his work of great practical value as a reflection-an image