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general heart, were weak or partial even before their view, without disguise or control. All the translation of the Scriptures. The young those causes Mr. Hazlitt regards as directed, had received it, not from books, but from the and their immediate effects as united by the living voice of their parents, made softer in genius of our country, native, unaffected, its tones by reverence and love. It had tem- sturdy, and unyielding. His lecture concludes pered early enthusiasm, and prompted visions with a character, equally beautiful and just, of celestial beauty, in the souls even of the of the Genius of our Poetry, with reference to most low, before men had been taught to reason the classical models, as having more of Pan on their faith. The instances of the Saviour's than of Apollo :-"but Pan is a God, Apollo compassion-his wondrous and beneficent is no more!" miracles-his agonies and death, did not lie The five succeeding Lectures contain the forgotten during centuries, because the people opinions of the author on most of the celebrated could not read of them. They were written works produced from the time of the Reforma“on the fleshy tables of the heart," and soft- tion, until the death of Charles the First. The ened the tenour of humble existence, while second comprises the characters of Lyly, Mar. superstition, ignorance, and priestcraft held low, Heywood, Middleton, and Rowley. The sway in high places.
account of Lyly's Endymion is worthy of that These old feelings of love, however, tended sweet but singular work. The address of greatly to sweeten and moderate the first excur- Eumenides to Endymion, on his awaking from sions of the intellect, when released from its his long sleep, “ Behold the twig to which thou long thraldom. The new opening of the stores laidest down thy head is become a tree," is inof classic lore, of Ancient History, of Italian deed, as described by our author, “an exquiPoetry, and of Spanish Romance, contributed sitely chosen image, and dumb proof of the much, doubtless, to the incitement and the manner in which he has passed his life from perfection of our national genius. The dis. youth to old age,-in a dream, a dream of covery of the New World, too, opened fresh love!” His description of Marlow's qualities, fields for the imagination to revel in. “Green when he says “there is a lust of power in his islands, and golden sands," says our author, writings, a hunger and thirst after unrighteous. “ seemed to arise, as by enchantment, out of the ness, a glow of the imagination unhallowed by bosom of the watery waste, and invite the cu- any thing but its own energies,” is very striking. pidity, or wing the imagination of the dream- The characters of Middleton and Rowley in ing speculator. Fairy land was realized in this Lecture, and those of Marston, Chapman, new and unknown worlds.”—“Fortunate fields, Deckar, and Webster in the third, are sketched and groves, and flowery vales-thrice happy with great spirit; and the peculiar beauties of isles,” were found floating “like those Hespe- each are dwelt on in a style and with a sentirian gardens famed of old,"_“ beyond Atlantic ment congenial with the predominant feeling seas, as dropped from the zenith.” Ancient of the poet. At the close of the Lecture, the superstitions also still lingered among the peo- observation, that the old dramatic writers have ple. The romance of human life had not then nothing theatrical about them, introduces the departed. It was more full of traps and pit- following eulogy on that fresh delight which falls; of moving accidents by flood and field : books are ever ready to yield us. more way-laid by sudden and startling evils, “ Here, on Salisbury Plain, where I write it stood on the brink of hope and fear, or stum- this, even here, with a few old authors, I can bled upon fate unawares,—while imagination, manage to get through the summer or the winclose behind it, caught at and clung to the ter months, without ever knowing what it is to shape of danger, or snatched a wild and fear- feel ennui. They sit with me at breakfast, they ful joy from its escape.” The martial and walk out with me before dinner. After a long heroic spirit was not dead. It was compara- walk through unfrequented tracts,-after starttively an age of peace, “ Like Strength repos- ing the hare from the fern, or hearing the ing on his own right arm;" but the sound of wing of the raven rustling above my head, or civil combat might still be heard in the dis. being greeted with the woodman's “stern good. tance,—the spear glittered to the eye of me. night as he strikes into his narrow homeward mory, or the clashing of armour struck on the path,-I can take mine ease at mine inn' be. imagination of the ardent and the young. The side the blazing hearth, and shake hands with people of that day were borderers on the savage Signor Orlando Frescobaldo, as the oldest acstale, on the times of war and bigotry,—though quaintance I have. Ben Jonson, learned themselves in the lap of arts, of luxury, and Chapman, Master Webster, and Master Heye knowledge. They stood on the shore, and saw wood are there ; and, seated round, discourse the billows rolling after the storm. They the silent hours away. Shakspeare is there heard the tumult, and were still. Another himself, rich in Cibber's Manager's coat. source of imaginative feelings, which Mr. Spenser is hardly returned from a ramble Hazliit quotes from Mr. Lamb, is found in the through the woods, or is concealed behind a distinctions of dress, and all the external sym- group of nymphs, fawns, and satyrs. Milton bols of trade, profession, and degree, by which lies on the table as on an altar, never taken up " the surface of society was embossed with or laid down without reverence. Lyly's Enhieroglyphics, and poetry existed in act and dymion sleeps with the moon that shines in complement extern." Lastly, our author al at the window; and a breath of wind stirring ludes to the first enjoyment and uncontrolled at a distance, seems a sigh from the tree range of our old poeis through Nature, whose under which he grew old. Faustus disfairest flowers were then uncropped, and to putes in one corner of the room with fiendish the movements of the soul then laid open to faces, and reasons of divine astrology, Bella
front soothes Mattheo, Vittoria triumphs over and decorum, to make both the passions and her Judges, and old Chapman repeats one of the voice of humanity give way (as in the exthe hymns of Homer, in his own fine trans- ample of Calantha) to a mere form of outward lation.” Pp. 136, 137.
behaviour. Such a suppression of the strong. The spirit of this passage is very deep and est and most uncontrollable feelings, can only cordial; and the expression, for the most part, be justified from necessity, for some great purexquisite. But we wonder that Mr. Hazlitt pose,—which is not the case in Ford's play; should commit so great an incongruity, as to or it must be done for the effect and eclat of the represent the other poets around him in per- thing, which is not fortitude but affectation." son, while Milton, introduced among the rest, The fallacy of this criticism appears to us to is used only as the title of a book. Why are lie in the assumption, that the violent suppresother authors to be seated round,” to cheer sion of her feelings by the heroine was a mere the critic's retirement as if living,—while Mil- piece of court etiquette-a compliment to the ton, like a petition in the House of Commons, ceremonies of a festival. Surely the object is only ordered “to lie upon the table ?" was noble, and the effort sublime. While the
In the Fourth Lecture, ample justice is done deadly force of sorrow oppressed her heart, to Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger and Ben she felt that she had solemn duties to disJonson; but we think the same measure is charge, and that, if she did not arm herself not meted to Ford. We cannot regard the against affliction till they were finished, she author of “ 'Tis a Pity she's a Whore," and could never perform them. She could seek * The Broken Heart," as “finical and fastidious." temporary strength only by refusing to pause We are directly at issue, indeed, with our au--by hurrying on the final scene; and dared thor on his opinions respecting the catastrophe not to give the least vent to the tide of grief, of the latter tragedy. Calantha, Princess of which would at once have relieved her overSparta, is celebrating the nuptials of a noble charged heart, and left her, exhausted, to die. pair, with solemn dancing, when a mes. Nothing less than the appearance of gayety senger enters, and informs her that the could hide or suppress the deep anguish of king, her father, is dead :—she dances on. her soul. We agree with Mr. Lamb, whose Another report is brought to her, that the sister opinion is referred to by our author, that there of her betrothed husband is starved ;-she calls is scarcely in any other play “a catastrophe for the other change. A third informs her that so grand, so solemn, and so surprising as Ithocles, her lover, is cruelly murdered ;-she this!" complains that the music sounds dull, and The Fifth Lecture, on Single Plays and orders sprightlier measures. The dance ended, Poems, brings into view many curious specishe announces herself queen, pronounces sen mens of old humour, hitherto little known, and tence on the murderer of Ithocles, and directs which sparkle brightly in their new setting. the ceremonials of her coronation to be im- The Sixth, on Miscellaneous Poems and mediately prepared. Her commands are Works, is chiefly remarkable for the admiraobeyed. She enters the Temple in white, ble criticism on the Arcadia of Sir Philip Sidcrowned, while the dead body of her husband ney, with which it closes. Here the critic is borne on a hearse, and placed beside the separates with great skill the wheat from the altar; at which she kneels in silent prayer. chaff, showing at once the power of his author, After her devotions, she addresses Nearchus, and its perversion, and how images of touchPrince of Argos, as though she would choose ing beauty and everlasting truth are marred him for her husband, and lays down all orders by " the spirit of Gothic quaintness, criticism, for the regulation of her kingdom, under the and conceit.” The passage, which is far too guise of proposals of marriage. This done, long for quotation, makes us desire more earnshe turns to the body of Ithocles, “ the shadow estly than ever that an author, capable of so of her contracted lord," puts her mother's wed- lucid and convincing a development of his ding ring on his finger, " to new-marry him critical doctrines, would less frequently con. whose wife she is," and from whom death tent himself with giving the mere results of his shall not part her. She then kisses his cold thought, and even conveying these in the most lips, and dies smiling. This Mr. Hazliit calls abrupt and startling language. A remark utw tragedy in masquerade," " the true false gal- tered in the parenthesis of a sarcasm, or an lop of sentiment;" and declares, that "any image thrown in to heighten a piece of irony, thing more artificial and mechanical he can- might often furnish extended matter for the not conceive.” He regards the whole scene as delight of those whom it now only disgusts or a forced transposition of one in Marston's Mal- bewilders. content, where Aurelia dances on in defiance The Seventh Lecture, on the works of Lord to the world, when she hears of the death of a Bacon, compared as to style with those of Sir detested husband. He observes, “that a Thomas Browne and of Jeremy Taylor, is very woman should call for music, and dance on unequal. The character of Lord Bacon is in spite of the death of a husband whom she eloquent, and the praise sufficiently lavish; hates, without regard to common decency, is but it does not show any proper knowledge of but too possible: that she should dance on his works. That of Jeremy Taylor is some. with the same heroic perseverance, in spite of what more appropriate, but too full of gaudy the death of her father, and of every one else images and mere pomp of words. The style whom she loves, from regard to common cour- of that delicious writer is ingeniously described tesy or appearance, is not surely natural. The as “prismatic;" though there is too much of passions may silence the voice of humanity; shadowy chillness in the phrase. adequately but it is, I think, equally against probability to represent the warm and tender ploom which
he casts on all that he touches. And when we in him survived to old age, and had superare afterwards told that it “ unfolds the colours annuated his other faculties. He moralizes of the rainbow ; floats like a bubble through and grows pathetic on a mere idle fancy of his the air; or is like innumerable dewdrops, own, as if thought and being were the same, that glitter on the face of morning, and twinkle or as if all this world were one glorious lie.' as they glitter;"—we can only understand that He had the most intense consciousness of conthe critic means to represent it as variegated, tradictions and ponentities; and he decks them light, and sparkling: but it appears to us that out in the pride and pedantry of words, as if the style of Jeremy Taylor is like nothing un- they were the attire of his proper person. The substantial or airy. The blossoms put forth categories hang about his neck like the gold in his works spring from a deep and eternal chain of knighthood: and he'walks gowned' stock, and have no similitude to any thing wa- in the intricate folds and swelling drapery of vering or unstable. His account of Sir Tho- dark sayings and impenetrable riddles.” Pp. mas Browne, however, seems to us very cha- 292—295. racteristic, both of himself and of that most The Eighth and Last Lecture begins with extraordinary of English writers. We can a few words on the merits of Sheil, Tobin, make room only for a part of it.
Lamb, and Cornwall, who, in our own time, “ As Bacon seemed to bend all his thoughts have written in the spirit of the elder drama-. to the practice of life, and to bring home the tists. The observations in this lecture, on the light of science to the bosoms and business spirit of the romantic and classic literature, of men,' Sir Thomas Browne seemed to be of are followed by a striking development of the opinion, that the only business of life was to materials, and an examination of the success think; and that the proper object of specula- of the German drama. Mr. Hazlitt attributes tion was, by darkening knowledge, to breed the triumph of its monstrous paradoxes to those more speculation, and find no end in wan- abuses and hypocrisies of society, those incodering mazes lost.' He chose the incompre- herences between its professions and its mohepsible and the impracticable, as almost the tives, which excite enthusiastic minds to seek only subjects fit for a lofty and lasting contem- for the opposite, at once, of its defects and plation, or for the exercise of a solid faith. He blessings. His account of his own sensations cried out for an oh altitudo’ beyond the heights on the first perusal of the Robbers, is one of of revelation; and posed himself with apocry- the most striking passages in the work. phal mysteries as the pastime of his leisure “ I have half trified with this subject; and I hours. He pushes a question to the utmost believe I have done so because I despaired of verge of conjecture, that he may repose on the finding language for some old-rooted feelings certainty of doubt: and he removes an object I have about it
, which a theory could neither to the greatest distance from him, that he may give, nor can it take away. The Robbers take a high and abstracted interest in it, con- was the first play I ever read; and the effect sider it in relation to the sum of things, not it produced upon me was the greatest. It to himself, and bewilder his understanding in stunned me like a blow; and I have not recothe universality of its nature, and the inscruta-vered enough from it to tell how it was. There bleness of its origin. His is the sublime of are impressions which neither time nor cirindifference; a passion for the abstruse and cumstances can efface. Were I to live much imaginary. He turns the world round for his longer than I have any chance of doing, the amusement, as if it were a globe of pasteboard. books I have read when I was young, I can He looks down on sublunary affairs as if he never forget. Five-and-twenty years have had taken his station in one of the planets. elapsed since I first read the translation of the The antipodes are next-door neighbours to Robbers, but they have not blotted the imprese him: and doomsday is not far off. With a sion from my mind; it is here still-an old thought he embraces both the poles ; the march dweller in the chambers of the brain. The of his pen is over the great divisions of geo- scene, in particular, in which Moor looks graphy and chronology. Nothing touches him through his tears at the evening sun from the nearer than humanity. He feels that he is mountain's brow, and says in his despair, ‘It mortal only in the decay of nature, and the was my wish like him to live, like him to die: dust of long-forgotten tombs. The finite is lost it was an idle thought, a boy's conceit,' took in the infinite. The orbits of the heavenly bo- first hold of my imagination,—and that sun dies, or the history of empires, are to him but has to me never set !" a point in time, or a speck in the universe. While we sympathize in all Mr. Hazlitt's The great Platonic year revolves in one of his sentiments of reverence for the mighty works periods. Nature is too little for the grasp of of the older times, we must guard against his style. He scoops an antithesis out of fa- that exclusive admiration of antiquity, ren. bulous antiquity, and rakes up an epithet from dered fashionable by some great critics, which the sweepings of chaos. It is as if his books would induce the belief that the age of genius had dropped from the clouds, or as if Friar is past, and the world grown too old to be roBacon's head could speak. He stands on the mantic. We can observe in these Lectures, edge of the world of sense and reason, and gets and in other works of their author, a jealousy a vertigo by looking down at impossibilities of the advances of civilization as lessening the and chimeras. Or he busies himself with the dominion of fancy. But this is, we think, a mysteries of the Cabbala, or the enclosed se- dangerous error; tending to chill the earliest crets of the heavenly quincunxes, as children are aspirations after excellence, and to roll its amused with tales of the nursery. The passion rising energies back on the kindling soul. of curiosity (the only passion of childhood) had | There remains yet abundant space for genius
to possess; and science is rather the pioneer | unexplored fastnesses. The face of nature than the impeder of its progress. The level changes not with the variations of fashion.' roads, indeed, which it cuts through unexplored One state of society may be somewhat more regions, are, in themselves, less fitted for its favourable to the development of genius than wanderings than the tangled ways through another; but wherever its divine seed is cast, which it delights to stray; but they afford it there will it strike its roots far beneath the sur. new glimpses into the wild scenes and noble face of artificial life, and rear its branches into vistas which open near them, and enable it to the heavens, far above the busy haunts of comdeviate into fresh scenes of beauty, and hitherto mon mortals.
VARIOUS PROSPECTS OF MANKIND, NATURE, AND
Mn. Wallace, the author of the work be- of Adam. But whalever may be supposed of fore us, was of the number of those speculators the length of this period, of necessity it must who have delighted to form schemes of ideal be granted, that the earth could not nourish felicity for their species. Men of this class, them for ever, unless either its fertility could often despised as dreaming theorists, have been be continually augmented, or, by some secret found among the best and wisest of all ages. in nature, like what certain enthusiasts have Those, indeed, who have seen the farthest into expected from the philosopher's stone, some their nature, have found the surest grounds of wise adept in the occult sciences should invent hope even for its earthly progress. Their en- a method of supporting mankind quite differthusiasm has been, at the least, innoxious. The ent from any thing known at present. Nay, belief, that humanity is on the decline—that though some extraordinary method of supportthe energy of man is decaying—that the heart ing them might possibly be found out, yet if is becoming harder—and that imagination and there was no bound to the increase of manintellect are dwindling away-lays an icy kind, which would be the case under a perfect finger on the soul, confirms the most debasing governmeni, there would not even be sufficient selfishness, and tends to retard the good which room for containing their bodies upon the surit denies. We propose, therefore, in this ar- face of the earth, or upon any limited surface ticle very cursorily to inquire how far the whatsoever. It would be necessary, therefore, hopes of those who believe that man is, on the in order to find room for such multitudes of whole, advancing, are sanctioned by experience men, that the earth should be continually enand by reason.
larging in bulk, as an animal or vegetable body. But we must not forget, that, in the very “Now, since philosophers may as soon atwork before us, an obstacle to the happiness tempt to make mankind immortal, as to supof the species is brought forward, which has port the animal frame without food, it is equally subsequently been explained as of a dreadful certain, that limits are set to the fertility of the nature, and has been represented as casting earth; and that its bulk, so far as is hitherto an impenetrable gloom over the brightest an- known, hath continued always the same, and ticipations of human progress. We shall first probably could not be much altered without set it forth in the words of Wallace—then trace making considerable changes in the solar sysits expansion and various applications by Mal- tem. It would be impossible, therefore, to supthus-and inquire how far it compels us to de- port the great numbers of men who would be spair for man.
raised up under a perfect government; the “ Under a perfect government, the inconve- earth would be overstocked at last, and the niencies of having a family would be so en greatest admirers of such fanciful schemes tirely removed, children would be so well must foresee the fatal period when they would taken care of, and every thing become so come to an end, as they are altogether inconfavourable to populousness, that though some sistent with the limits of that earth in which sickly seasons or dreadful plagues in particu- they must exist. lar climates might cut off multitudes, yet, in “What a miserable catastrophe of the most general, mankind would increase so prodi- generous of all human systems of government! giously, that the earth would at last be over- How dreadfully would the magistrates of such stocked, and become unable to support its nu- commonwealths find themselves disconcerted merous inhabitants.
at that fatal period, when there was no longer “ How long the earth, with the best culture any room for new colonies, and when the earth of which it is capable from human gepius and could produce no farther supplies! During industry, might be able to nourish its perpetu- all the preceding ages, while there was room ally increasing inhabitants, is as impossible for increase, mankind must have been happy; as it is unnecessary to be determined. It is the earth must have been a paradise in the not probable that it could have supported them literal sense, as the greatest part of it must during so long a period as since the creation have been turned into delightful and fruitful
gardens. But when the dreadful time should truth more unnatural than all their present at last come, when our globe, by the most calamities. Supposing men to have abused diligent culture, could not produce what was their liberty, by which abuse vice has once sufficient to nourish its numerous inhabitants, been introduced into the world; and that what happy expedient could then be found out wrong notions, a bad taste, and vicious habits, to remedy so great an evil ?
have been strengthened by the defects of edu“In such a cruel necessity, must there be a cation and government, our present distresses law to restrain marriage ? Must multitudes may be easily explained. They may even of women be shut up in cloisters, like the be called natural, being the natural conseancient vestals or modern nuns? To keep a quences of our depravity. They may be balance between the two sexes, must a propor- supposed to be the means by which Provitionable number of men be debarred from dence punishes vice; and by setting bounds marriage? Shall the Utopians, following the to the increase of mankind, prevents the wicked policy of superstition, forbid their earth's being overstocked, and men being laid priests to marry; or shall they rather sacrifice under the cruel necessity of killing one an. men of some other profession for the good of other. But to suppose, that in the course of the state ? Or, shall they appoint the sons of a favourable Providence a perfect governcertain families to be maimed at their birth, ment had been established, under which the and give a sanction to the unnatural institu- disorders of human passions had been power. tion of eunuchs? If none of these expedients fully corrected and restrained; poverty, idlecan be thought proper, shall they appoint a cer- ness and war banished; the earth made a paratain number of infants to be exposed to death dise; universal friendship and concord estaas soon as they are born, determining the pro- blished, and human society rendered fourishe portion according to the exigencies of the state; ing in all respects; and that such a lovely conand pointing out the particular victims by lot, stitution should be overturned, not by the vices or according to some established rule ? Or, of men, or their abuse of liberty, but by the must they shorten the period of human life by order of nature itself, seems wholly unnatural, a law, and condemn all to die after they had and altogether disagreeable to the methods of completed a certain age, which might be Providence." shorter or longer, as provisions were either To this passage, the gloomy theories of Mr. more scanty or plentiful? Or what other me. Malthus owe their origin. He took the evil thod should they devise (for an expedient which Wallace regarded as awaiting the would be absolutely necessary) to restrain species in its highest state of earthly perthe number of citizens within reasonable fection, as instant and pressing in almost bounds ?
every state of society, and as causing man. “Alas ! how unnatural and inhuman must kind perpetually to oscillate. He represented every such expedient be accounted ? The nature herself as imposing an adamantine natural passions and appetites of mankind are barrier to improvement. He depicted the planted in our frame, to answer the best ends tendency of the species to increase in purfor the happiness both of the individuals and bers, as arising from passion, mad and unof the species. Shall we be obliged to con- governable as well as universal, and as retradict such a wise order? Shall we be laid sisted, in its fatal consequences, only by war, under the necessity of acting barbarously and famine, or disease. He maintained, that man inhumanly? Sad and fatal necessity! And was placed by nature between two tremenwhich, after all, could never answer the end, dous evils, and could never recede from the but would give rise to violence and war. For strait within which his movements were conmankind would never agree about such regu- tracted. lations. Force and arms must at last decide The system thus promulgated in the first their quarrels, and the deaths of such as fall edition of the work on Population, could not in battle leave sufficient provisions for the be well applied to any practical uses. It survivors, and make room for others to be born. tended to destroy the fair visions of human
“ Thus the tranquillity and numerous bless improvement, and to place a gigantic demon ings of the Utopian governments would come in their room. But it could not form a to an end; war, or cruel and undatural cus- part of any rational scheme of legislation, toms, be introduced, and a stop put to the in- because it represented the evils which it crease of mankind, to the advancement of depicted as hopeless. Its only moral was de. knowledge, and to the culture of the earth, in spair. But its author a man whose personal spite of the most excellent laws and wisest pre- benevolence withstood his doctrines-became cautions. The more excellent the laws had anxious to discover some moral purposes to been, and the more strictly they had been ob- which he might apply his scheme. Accordserved, mankind must have sooner become ingly, in his second edition, which was so miserable. The remembrance of former lines, allered and rewritten as to be almost a new the greatness of their wisdom and virtue, would work, he introduced a new preventive check conspire to heighten their distress; and the on the tendency of population to increase, world, instead of remaining the mansion of which he designated “moral restraint,” and wisdom and happiness, become the scene of proposed to inculcate, by the negative course of vice and confusion. Force and fraud must leaving all those who did not practise it to the prevail, and mankind be reduced to the same consequences of their error. This new feacalamitous condition as at present.
ture appears to us subversive of the whole sys“Such a melancholy situation, in conse- tem, in so far, at least, as it is designed to exhibit quence merely of the want of provisions, is in linsuperable obstacles to the progressive hap