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cited, or we cannot admire. Things often seen pass feebly before our senses, and scarcely awake the languid soul.
“Man is the most excellent and noble creature of the world, the principal and mighty work of God, the wonder of nature, the marvel of marvelsa."
Let us have regard to his corporeal structure. There is a simplicity in it, that at first perhaps we slightly consider. But how exactly is it fashioned for strength and agility! It is in no way incumbered. It is like the marble when it comes out of the hand of the consummate sculptor; every thing unnecessary is carefully chiseled away; and the joints, the muscles, the articulations, and the veins come out, clean and finished. It has long ago been observed, that beauty, as well as virtue, is the middle between all extremes : that nose which is neither specially long, nor short, nor thick, nor thin, is the perfect nose; and so of the rest. In like manner, when I speak of man generally, I do not regard any aberrations of form, obesity, a thick calf, a thin calf; I take the middle between all extremes; and this is emphatically man.
Man cannot keep pace with a starting horse: but he can persevere, and beats him in the end.
What an infinite variety of works is man by his corporeal form enabled to accomplish! in this respect he casts the whole creation behind him. What a machine is the human hand! When we
Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 1.
analyse its parts and its uses, it appears to be the most consummate of our members. And yet there are other parts, that may maintain no mean rivalship against it.
What a sublimity is to be attributed to his upright form! He is not fashioned, veluti pecora, qua natura prona atque ventri obedientia finrit. He is made cæli convexa tueri. The looks that are given him in his original structure, are “ looks commercing with the skies.”
How surpassingly beautiful are the features of his countenance; the eyes, the nose, the mouth! How noble do they appear in a state of repose ! With what never-ending variety and emphasis do they express the emotions of his mind! In the visage of man, uncorrupted and undebased, we read the frankness and ingenuousness of his soul, the clearness of his reflections, the penetration of his spirit. What a volume of understanding is unrolled in his broad, expanded, lofty brow! In his countenance we see expressed at one time sedate confidence and awful intrepidity, and at another godlike condescension and the most melting tenderness. Who can behold the human eye, suddenly suffused with moisture, or gushing with tears unbid, and the quivering lip, without unspeakable emotion? Shakespear talks of an eye, “whose bend could awe the world."
What a miraculous thing is the human complexion! We are sent into the world naked, that
all the variations of the blood might be made visi-
What a curious phenomenon is that of blushing! It is impossible to witness this phenomenon without interest and sympathy. It comes at once, unanticipated by the person in whom we behold it. It comes from the soul, and expresses with equal certainty shame, modesty, and vivid, uncontrolable affection. It spreads, as it were in so many stages, over the cheeks, the brow, and the neck, of him or her in whom the sentiment that gives birth to it is working
Thus far I have not mentioned speech, not perhaps the most inestimable of human gifts, but, if it is not that, it is at least the endowment, which makes man social, by which principally we impart our sentiments to each other, and which changes us from solitary individuals, and bestows on us a duplicate and multipliable existence. Beside which it incalculably increases the perfection of one. The man who does not speak, is an unfledged thinker; and the man that does not write, is but half an investigator.
Not to enter into all the mysteries of articulate
speech and the irresistible power of eloquence, whether addressed to a single hearer, or instilled into the ears of many,—a topic that belongs perhaps less to the chapter of body than mind,-let us for a moment fix our thoughts steadily upon that little implement, the human voice. Of what unnumbered modulations is it susceptible! What terror may it inspire! How may it electrify the soul, and suspend all its functions ! How infinite is its melody! How instantly it subdues the hearer to pity or to love! How does the listener hang upon every note praying that it may last for ever,
that even silence
It is here especially that we are presented with the triumphs of civilisation. How immeasurable is the distance between the voice of the clown, who never thought of the power that dwells in this faculty, who delivers himself in a rude, discordant and unmodulated accent, and is accustomed to confer with his fellow at the distance of two fields, and the man who understands his instrument as Handel understood the organ, and who, whether he thinks of it or no, sways those that hear him as implicitly as Orpheus is said to have subdued the brute creation!
From the countenance of man let us proceed to his figure. Every limb is capable of speaking, and
telling its own tale. What can equal the magnificence of the neck, the column upon which the head reposes ! The ample chest may denote an almost infinite strength and power. Let us call to mind the Apollo Belvidere, and the Venus de Medicis, whose
very “bends are adornings." What loftiness and awe have I seen expressed in the step of an actress, not yet deceased, when first she advanced, and came down towards the audience! I was ravished, and with difficulty kept my seat. Pass we to the mazes of the dance, the inimitable charms and picturesque beauty that may be given to the figure while still unmoved, and the ravishing grace that dwells in it during its endless changes and evolutions.
The upright figure of man produces, incidentally as it were, and by the bye, another memorable effect. Hence we derive the power of meeting in halls, and congregations, and crowded assemblies. We are found “at large, though without number," at solemn commemorations and on festive occasions. We touch each other, as the members of a gay party are accustomed to do, when they wait the stroke of an electrical machine, and the spark spreads along from man to man. It is thus that we have our feelings in common at a theatrical representation and at a public dinner, that indignation is communicated, and patriotism become irrepressible. One man can convey his sentiments in articulate speech to a thousand ; and this is the nursing mother of