« 上一頁繼續 »
not enlarged sufficiently on the philosophy of this matter, the point has certainly not escaped that magician of love, Ariosto : an admirable apostrophe is the following:
“ Ingiustissimo amor, perchè sì raro
Corrispondenti fai nostri desiri ?
E chi m'ha in odio vuoi che adori ed ami."
A question has lately arisen, as to love's eyesight, the consideration of which, as being an interesting point in its physiology, ought not to be entirely omitted in a work at least nominally philosophical.
It seems that for once poor Shakspere's wisdom has been discovered at fault, in representing Love as blind. It is true that herein he has only echoed the common opinion of many ages of the world, but inasmuch as he has in this 6 followed the multitude to do evil,” giving currency to the libel, he cannot be altogether excused. In selecting the following specimen of the new philosophy alluded to, I beg it to be understood, that I do it in no bantering vein, as regards the talents of the author, for which talents I have all due respect. 66 Whether it be that all love renders wise
In its degree ;—from love which blends with love,
* Browning's " Paracelsus."
'Tis difficult to deny the truth of this reflection; and when we add to it the undoubted fact that love's clairvoyance often enables it to perceive numerous perfections in its object, that cannot be perceived by the vision of the rest of the world, it becomes exceedingly difficult to reconcile the two conflicting doctrines of the oli and new philosophy. As, however, my faith in Shakspere's wisdom is next to unbounded, and I feel myself in some degree therefore bound to defend him, I venture to throw out a new theory for the consideration of students in the school of lore's physiology which may possibly satisfy the supporters of both systems. My theory is simply this: that Love is blind in one eye, and sees double with the other! Amor, addio!
M A N.
AS AN ANIMAL.
King Lear, (addressing a poor naked madman in a storm.) Why thou were better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncover'd body this extretoity of the skies. Is man no more than this ? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Thou art the thing itself: unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art!
King Lear. Act iii. Scene 4.
MAN IN HIS HIGHER CAPACITY.
Hamlet. What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world!
Hamlet. Act ii. Scene 2.
HIS REASON SHOULD LEAD HIM TO ACTIVITY.
What is a man,
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Hamlet. Act iv. Scene 4.
The epigrammatic rage has often been indulged in attempting an appropriate and concise definition of man as an animal. The story of Plato's * defeat in the attempt is familiar enough to most readers. He described man as
unfledged biped,” whereupon one of his school plucked the feathers off a fowl, and produced it as “ Plato's man," much to the amusement of the assembled sages.
From that time to this, the world has witnessed many similar failures. Near our own times there was Lord Monboddo, who defined man to be “a monkey without a tail.” The folly of the description was tolerably apparent, and the insult to our species could not add to the popularity of the description; but as some physiologists have absolutely, in sober seriousness, given it countenance, I have much pleasure in referring readers interested in the subject to that most splendid work,“ Dr. Pritchard's Physical Researches into the History of Mankind,” where they will find, in the striking distinctions there pointed out between the monkey tribe and man, a signal refutation of the Monboddu theory.
In such a contest as obtaining a proper definition of
* This story has sometimes heen told of Pythagoras.
it is not surprising that Sartor Resartus (a prince among living philosophers) should have rushed into the arena as a competitor. He furnishes himself with two strings to his bow, but I fear he will find both of them snap in twain between his fingers. 6 An omnivorous biped that wears breeches !” says he. Rather elaborate than perfect, I must observe, seeing that in nearly the whole of Africa, and in many other parts of the globe, the appendages just named (but which this second time shall be nameless) have never been adopted by man, who in those countries seeks no other covering for his lower limbs than the skin that nature has given them. This definition, therefore, relating only to civilized man, is not sufficiently comprehensive, and must be abandoned. Come we to the second.
“Man is a tool-using animal.” Excellent, Mr. Carlyle, as far as it goes. But naturalists tell us that the little animal called the beaver uses its own tail, as a mason's trowel, to plaster the walls of its habitation! And should you object to the tail of a beast being called a tool in strict propriety, I have another instance of tool-using, amongst brute beasts, against which no such objection lies. The ourang-nutang uses a walking stick, (a bough broken from a tree) at least so travellers say: and the female monkey has also been seen to chastise its young, when naughty, with a stick. Here is a tool with a ven. geance! You must give it up, it really wont do! though perhaps a definition the closest to truth of any of the brief sort even yet promulgated; except perhaps the following:
There is another writer of no mean celebrity, who has suggested a definition of the “
perhaps less exceptionable than any of those already quoted. Meg Dodds defines man to be “a cooking animal.” But, alas, man is not entitled even to this distinctive appellation of dubious dignity; for Meg seems altogether to have forgotten the well-known stories of monkies roasting chesnuts. It may be true that Pug has burnt his fingers in such